497 1 d781578d497.htm FORM 497 Form 497
March 1, 2019
  (as revised July 25, 2019)
    
2019 Prospectus
iShares Trust
•  iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF* | IBDN |  NYSE ARCA
  
Beginning on January 1, 2021, as permitted by regulations adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), paper copies of the Fund’s shareholder reports will no longer be sent by mail, unless you specifically request paper copies of the reports from your financial intermediary, such as a broker-dealer or bank. Instead, the reports will be made available on a website, and you will be notified by mail each time a report is posted and provided with a website link to access the report.
If you already elected to receive shareholder reports electronically, you will not be affected by this change and you need not take any action. If you hold accounts through a financial intermediary, you may contact your financial intermediary to enroll in electronic delivery. Please note that not all financial intermediaries may offer this service.
You may elect to receive all future reports in paper free of charge. If you hold accounts through a financial intermediary, you can follow the instructions included with this disclosure, if applicable, or contact your financial intermediary to request that you continue to receive paper copies of your shareholder reports. Please note that not all financial intermediaries may offer this service. Your election to receive reports in paper will apply to all funds held with your financial intermediary.
The SEC has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
*The iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF.



 


Table of Contents
BLOOMBERG® is a trademark of Bloomberg Finance L.P. and its affiliates (collectively, “Bloomberg”). BARCLAYS® is a trademark of Barclays Bank PLC (collectively with its affiliates, “Barclays”), used under license. “Bloomberg Barclays December 2022 Maturity Corporate Index” is a trademark of Bloomberg and its licensors and has been licensed for use for certain purposes by BlackRock Fund Advisors or its affiliates. iShares®, iBonds® and BlackRock® are registered trademarks of BlackRock Fund Advisors and its affiliates. This Fund is covered by U.S. Patent Nos. 8,438,100 and 8,655,770.
i

 


[THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]

 


iSHARES® iBONDS® DEC 2022
TERM CORPORATE ETF
Ticker: IBDN Stock Exchange: NYSE Arca
Investment Objective
The iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to track the investment results of an index composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade corporate bonds maturing in 2022.
Fees and Expenses
The following table describes the fees and expenses that you will incur if you own shares of the Fund. The investment advisory agreement between iShares Trust (the “Trust”) and BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”) (the “Investment Advisory Agreement”) provides that BFA will pay all operating expenses of the Fund, except the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses. The Fund may incur “Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses.” Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses reflect the Fund's pro rata share of the fees and expenses incurred by investing in other investment companies. The impact of Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses is included in the total returns of the Fund. Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses are not included in the calculation of the ratio of expenses to average net assets shown in the Financial Highlights section of the Fund's prospectus (the “Prospectus”).
You may also incur usual and customary brokerage commissions and other charges when buying or selling shares of the Fund, which are not reflected in the Example that follows:
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(ongoing expenses that you pay each year as a
percentage of the value of your investments)
Management
Fees
  Distribution and
Service (12b-1)
Fees
  Other
Expenses
  Acquired Fund Fees
and Expenses1
  Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
  Fee Waiver1   Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
After
Fee Waiver
0.10%   None   None   0.00%   0.10%   (0.00)%   0.10%

1 BFA, the investment adviser to the Fund, has contractually agreed to waive a portion of its management fees in an amount equal to the Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, if any, attributable to investments by the Fund in other funds advised by BFA or its affiliates through the termination date of the Fund, on or about December 15, 2022. The contractual waiver may be terminated prior to the Fund's termination only upon the written agreement of the Trust and BFA. For the most recently completed fiscal year, the amount rounded to 0.00%.
S-1

 


Example. This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of owning shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell all of your shares at the end of those periods. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:
1 Year   3 Years   Maturity
$10   $32   $42
Portfolio Turnover. The Fund may pay transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in the Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund's portfolio turnover rate was 2% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund seeks to meet its investment objective generally by investing in individual securities which satisfy the criteria of the Bloomberg Barclays December 2022 Maturity Corporate Index (the “Underlying Index”). The Fund may also invest in other exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), U.S. government securities, short-term paper, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of money market funds advised by BFA or its affiliates.
The Fund is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2022, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders
pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Fund does not seek to return any predetermined amount at maturity or in periodic distributions. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade (as determined by Bloomberg Index Services Limited (the “Index Provider” or “Bloomberg”)) corporate bonds scheduled to mature after December 31, 2021 and before December 16, 2022. As of October 31, 2018, a significant portion of the Underlying Index is represented by securities of companies in the consumer staples, financials and industrials industries or sectors. The components of the Underlying Index are likely to change over time.
The Underlying Index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities publicly issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of corporate bonds issued by companies domiciled in developed countries. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or
 
S-2

 


have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”), with registration rights. Further, the securities in the Underlying Index must be denominated in U.S. dollars and have a fixed-rate, although they can carry a coupon that steps-up or changes according to a predetermined schedule. In addition, to be included in the Underlying Index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies named below must be rated “investment-grade” by at least two of the agencies, which is defined as Baa3 or higher by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch Ratings, Inc. When ratings from only two of the three rating agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment-grade in order to be included in the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. A parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds that had been screened out of the parent index due to being within one year of maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the Underlying Index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the Underlying Index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the
last calendar day of each month until six months prior to maturity. The last rebalance date will be on June 30, 2022. During this final six month period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded to below investment-grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period, existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value.
When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2022, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
The Fund is a series of the iShares iBonds® fixed maturity series of bond ETFs sponsored by BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”). The iBonds® fixed maturity series do not invest in U.S. savings bonds or other U.S. government bonds (except to the extent the funds hold cash equivalent instruments consistent with their investment objectives) and are not designed to provide protection against inflation.
BFA uses a “passive” or indexing approach to try to achieve the Fund’s investment objective. Unlike many investment companies, the Fund does not try to “beat” the index it tracks and does not seek temporary defensive positions when markets decline or appear overvalued.
S-3

 


Indexing may eliminate the chance that the Fund will substantially outperform the Underlying Index but also may reduce some of the risks of active management, such as poor security selection. Indexing seeks to achieve lower costs and better after-tax performance by keeping portfolio turnover low in comparison to actively managed investment companies.
BFA uses a representative sampling indexing strategy to manage the Fund. “Representative sampling” is an indexing strategy that involves investing in a representative sample of securities that collectively has an investment profile similar to that of an applicable underlying index. The securities selected are expected to have, in the aggregate, investment characteristics (based on factors such as market capitalization and industry weightings), fundamental characteristics (such as return variability, duration, maturity, credit ratings and yield) and liquidity measures similar to those of an applicable underlying index. The Fund may or may not hold all of the securities in the Underlying Index.
The Fund generally will invest at least 90% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index, except during the last months of the Fund’s operations, as described below, and may invest up to 10% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of money market funds advised by BFA or its affiliates (“BlackRock Cash Funds”), as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. From time to time when conditions warrant, however, the Fund may invest at least 80% of its assets in the
component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index.
The Fund seeks to track the investment results of the Underlying Index before fees and expenses of the Fund. In the last months of operation, as the bonds held by the Fund mature, the proceeds will not be reinvested by the Fund in bonds but instead will be held in cash and cash equivalents. By December 15, 2022, the Underlying Index is expected to consist almost entirely of cash earned in this manner. On or around this date, the Fund will wind up and terminate, and its net assets will be distributed to then-current shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation.
The Fund may lend securities representing up to one-third of the value of the Fund's total assets (including the value of any collateral received).
The Underlying Index is sponsored by Bloomberg, which is independent of the Fund and BFA. The Index Provider determines the composition and relative weightings of the securities in the Underlying Index and publishes information regarding the market value of the Underlying Index.
Industry Concentration Policy. The Fund will concentrate its investments (i.e., hold 25% or more of its total assets) in a particular industry or group of industries to approximately the same extent that the Underlying Index is concentrated. For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S.
S-4

 


government (including its agencies and instrumentalities), repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities, and securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
Summary of Principal Risks
As with any investment, you could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Fund's performance could trail that of other investments. The Fund is subject to certain risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund's net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective.
Asset Class Risk. Securities and other assets in the Underlying Index or in the Fund's portfolio may underperform in comparison to the general financial markets, a particular financial market or other asset classes.
Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem Creation Units (as defined in the Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares section of the Prospectus), Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting.
Call Risk. During periods of falling interest rates, an issuer of a callable bond held by the Fund may “call” or repay the security before its stated maturity, and the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in securities with lower yields, which would result in a decline in the Fund's income, or in securities with greater risks or with other less favorable features.
Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund's investments are concentrated in the securities of a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class.
Consumer Staples Sector Risk. The consumer staples sector may be affected by, among other things, marketing campaigns, changes in consumer demands, government regulations and changes in commodity prices.
Credit Risk. Debt issuers and other counterparties may be unable or unwilling to make timely interest and/or principal payments when due or otherwise honor their obligations. Changes in an issuer’s credit rating or the market’s perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness may also adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investment in that issuer. The degree of credit risk depends on an issuer's or counterparty's financial condition and on the terms of an obligation.
Cyber Security Risk. Failures or breaches of the electronic systems of the Fund, the Fund's adviser, distributor, and other service
S-5

 


providers, the Index Provider, market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests have the ability to cause disruptions and negatively impact the Fund’s business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses to the Fund and its shareholders. While the Fund has established business continuity plans and risk management systems seeking to address system breaches or failures, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cyber security plans and systems of the Fund’s service providers, the Index Provider, market makers, Authorized Participants or issuers of securities in which the Fund invests.
Declining Yield Risk. During the twelve months prior to the Fund’s planned termination date, the Fund’s yield will generally tend to move toward prevailing money market rates and may be lower than the yields of the bonds previously held by the Fund and lower than prevailing yields for bonds in the market.
Extension Risk. During periods of rising interest rates, certain debt obligations may be paid off substantially more slowly than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income and potentially in the value of the Fund’s investments.
Financials Sector Risk. Performance of companies in the financials sector may be adversely impacted by many factors, including, among others, changes in government regulations, economic conditions, and interest rates, credit rating downgrades, and decreased liquidity in credit markets. The extent to which the Fund may invest in a
company that engages in securities-related activities or banking is limited by applicable law. The impact of changes in capital requirements and recent or future regulation of any individual financial company, or of the financials sector as a whole, cannot be predicted. In recent years, cyber-attacks and technology malfunctions and failures have become increasingly frequent in this sector and have caused significant losses to companies in this sector, which may negatively impact the Fund.
Fluctuation of Yield and Liquidation Amount Risk. The Fund, unlike a direct investment in a bond that has a level coupon payment and a fixed payment at maturity, will make distributions of income that vary over time. It is expected that an investment in the Fund, if held through maturity, will produce aggregate returns comparable to a direct investment in a group of bonds of similar credit quality and maturity. Unlike a direct investment in bonds, the breakdown of returns between Fund distributions and liquidation proceeds are not predictable at the time of your investment. For example, at times during the Fund's existence it may make distributions at a greater (or lesser) rate than the coupon payments received on the Fund's portfolio, which will result in the Fund returning a lesser (or greater) amount on liquidation than would otherwise be the case. The rate of Fund distribution payments may adversely affect the tax characterization of your returns from an investment in the Fund relative to a direct investment in bonds. If the amount you receive as liquidation proceeds upon the Fund's termination is higher or lower than your cost basis, you may experience a gain or loss for tax purposes.
S-6

 


Illiquid Investments Risk. The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. To the extent the Fund holds illiquid investments, the illiquid investments may reduce the returns of the Fund because the Fund may be unable to transact at advantageous times or prices.
Income Risk. The Fund's income may decline when interest rates fall. This decline can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding instruments as bonds in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, bonds in the Underlying Index are substituted, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional bonds. As the Fund does not seek to return any predetermined amount at maturity or in periodic distributions, the amount of income generated by the Fund may vary during its term. In addition, the Fund's income is expected to decline in the months leading up to its maturity date because its portfolio will increasingly consist of cash and cash equivalents.
Index-Related Risk. There is no guarantee that the Fund’s investment results will have a high degree of correlation to those of the Underlying Index or that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. Market disruptions and regulatory restrictions could have an adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to adjust its exposure to the required levels in order to track the Underlying Index. Errors in index data,
index computations or the construction of the Underlying Index in accordance with its methodology may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all, which may have an adverse impact on the Fund and its shareholders.
Industrials Sector Risk. Companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by changes in the supply of and demand for products and services, product obsolescence, claims for environmental damage or product liability and changes in general economic conditions, among other factors.
Interest Rate Risk. An increase in interest rates may cause the value of securities held by the Fund to decline, may lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and may adversely affect the liquidity of certain fixed-income investments. The historically low interest rate environment, together with recent modest rate increases, heightens the risks associated with rising interest rates.
Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. Changes in the financial condition or credit rating of an issuer of those securities may cause the value of the securities to decline.
Management Risk. As the Fund will not fully replicate the Underlying Index, it is subject to the risk that BFA's investment strategy may not produce the intended results.
Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over
S-7

 


longer periods during more prolonged market downturns.
Market Trading Risk. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares, losses from trading in secondary markets, periods of high volatility and disruptions in the creation/redemption process. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND'S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV.
Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks.
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed, and BFA generally does not attempt to take defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets.
Privately-Issued Securities Risk. The Fund may invest in privately-issued securities, including those that are normally purchased pursuant to Rule 144A or Regulation S promulgated under the 1933 Act. Privately-issued securities are securities that have not been registered under the 1933 Act and as a result may be subject to legal restrictions on resale. Privately-issued securities are generally not traded on established markets. As a result of the
absence of a public trading market, privately issued securities may be deemed to be illiquid investments, may be more difficult to value than publicly traded securities and may be subject to wide fluctuations in value. Delay or difficulty in selling such securities may result in a loss to the Fund.
Reinvestment Risk. The Fund may invest a portion of its assets in short-term fixed-income instruments and, as a result, may be adversely affected if interest rates fall because it may have to invest in lower-yielding instruments as bonds in the Fund's portfolio mature.
Reliance on Trading Partners Risk. The Fund invests in countries or regions whose economies are heavily dependent upon trading with key partners. Any reduction in this trading may have an adverse impact on the Fund's investments.
Risk of Investing in the U.S. Certain changes in the U.S. economy, such as when the U.S. economy weakens or when its financial markets decline, may have an adverse effect on the securities to which the Fund has exposure.
Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money in the event of a decline in the value of collateral provided for loaned securities or a decline in the value of any investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund.
Tracking Error Risk. The Fund may be subject to tracking error, which is the divergence of the Fund’s performance
S-8

 


from that of the Underlying Index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities and other instruments held in the Fund’s portfolio and those included in the Underlying Index, pricing differences (including, as applicable, differences between a security’s price at the local market close and the Fund's valuation of a security at the time of calculation of the Fund's NAV), differences in transaction costs, the Fund’s holding of uninvested cash, differences in timing of the accrual of or the valuation of distributions, the requirements to maintain pass-through tax treatment, portfolio transactions carried out to minimize the distribution of capital gains to shareholders, changes to the Underlying Index or the
costs to the Fund of complying with various new or existing regulatory requirements. This risk may be heightened during times of increased market volatility or other unusual market conditions. Tracking error also may result because the Fund incurs fees and expenses, while the Underlying Index does not.
Valuation Risk. Because the bond market may be open on days or during time periods when the Fund does not price its shares, the value of the securities or other assets in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days or during time periods when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s shares.
Performance Information
The bar chart and table that follow show how the Fund has performed on a calendar year basis and provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund. Both assume that all dividends and distributions have been reinvested in the Fund. Past performance (before and after taxes) does not necessarily indicate how the Fund will perform in the future. Supplemental information about the Fund’s performance is shown under the heading Total Return Information in the Supplemental Information section of the Prospectus. If BFA had not waived certain Fund fees during certain periods, the Fund's returns would have been lower.
Year by Year Returns (Years Ended December 31)
The best calendar quarter return during the periods shown above was 3.95% in the 1st quarter of 2016; the worst was -2.40% in the 4th quarter of 2016.
Updated performance information may be obtained by visiting our website at www.iShares.com or by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) (toll free).
S-9

 


Average Annual Total Returns
(for the periods ended December 31, 2018)
  One Year   Since Fund
Inception
(Inception Date: 3/10/2015)      
Return Before Taxes 0.08%   2.26%
Return After Taxes on Distributions1 -1.07%   1.05%
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares1 0.04%   1.18%
Bloomberg Barclays December 2022 Maturity Corporate Index (Index returns do not reflect deductions for fees, expenses, or taxes) 0.18%   2.38%

1 After-tax returns in the table above are calculated using the historical highest individual U.S. federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state or local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown, and after-tax returns shown are not relevant to tax-exempt investors or investors who hold shares through tax-deferred arrangements, such as 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”). Fund returns after taxes on distributions and sales of Fund shares are calculated assuming that an investor has sufficient capital gains of the same character from other investments to offset any capital losses from the sale of Fund shares. As a result, Fund returns after taxes on distributions and sales of Fund shares may exceed Fund returns before taxes and/or returns after taxes on distributions.
S-10

 


Management
Investment Adviser. BlackRock Fund Advisors.
Portfolio Managers. James Mauro and Scott Radell (the “Portfolio Managers”) are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager supervises a portfolio management team. Mr. Mauro and Mr. Radell have been Portfolio Managers of the Fund since 2015.
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund is an ETF. Individual shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange. Most investors will buy and sell shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer. The price of Fund shares is based on market price, and because ETF shares trade at market prices rather than at NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (a premium) or less than NAV (a discount). The Fund will only issue or redeem shares that have been aggregated into blocks of 100,000 shares or multiples thereof (“Creation Units”) to Authorized Participants who have entered into agreements with the Fund's distributor. The Fund generally will issue or redeem Creation Units in return for a designated portfolio of securities (and an amount of cash) that the Fund specifies each day.
Tax Information
The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax-deferred arrangement such as a 401(k) plan or an IRA, in which case, your distributions generally will be taxed when withdrawn.
Payments to Broker-Dealers and other Financial Intermediaries
If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), BFA or other related companies may pay the intermediary for marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems or other services related to the sale or promotion of the Fund. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
S-11

 


[THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]

 


More Information About the Fund
This Prospectus contains important information about investing in the Fund. Please read this Prospectus carefully before you make any investment decisions. Additional information regarding the Fund is available at www.iShares.com.
BFA is the investment adviser to the Fund. Shares of the Fund are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca”). The market price for a share of the Fund may be different from the Fund’s most recent NAV.
ETFs are funds that trade like other publicly-traded securities. The Fund is designed to track an index. Similar to shares of an index mutual fund, each share of the Fund represents an ownership interest in an underlying portfolio of securities and other instruments intended to track a market index. Unlike shares of a mutual fund, which can be bought and redeemed from the issuing fund by all shareholders at a price based on NAV, shares of the Fund may be purchased or redeemed directly from the Fund at NAV solely by Authorized Participants and only in Creation Unit increments. Also unlike shares of a mutual fund, shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange and trade in the secondary market at market prices that change throughout the day.
The Fund will wind up and terminate on or about December 15, 2022. Upon its termination, the Fund will distribute substantially all of its net assets, after making appropriate provision for any liabilities of the Fund, to then-current shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. In the final months of the Fund's operations, as the bonds it holds mature, its portfolio will transition to cash and cash equivalents. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2022, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index. In accordance with the Trust's current Amended and Restated Agreement and Declaration of Trust, the Fund will terminate on or about the date noted above, as approved by a majority of the Trust's Board of Trustees (the “Board”), without requiring additional approval by Fund shareholders. The Board may extend the termination date if a majority of the Board determines the extension to be in the best interest of the Fund.
The Fund invests in a particular segment of the securities markets and seeks to track the performance of a securities index that may not be representative of the market as a whole. The Fund is designed to be used as part of broader asset allocation strategies. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund should not constitute a complete investment program.
An index is a financial calculation, based on a grouping of financial instruments, and is not an investment product, while the Fund is an actual investment portfolio. The performance of the Fund and the Underlying Index may vary for a number of reasons, including transaction costs, non-U.S. currency valuations, asset valuations, corporate actions (such as mergers and spin-offs), timing variances and differences between the Fund’s portfolio and the Underlying Index resulting from the Fund's use of
1

 


representative sampling or from legal restrictions (such as diversification requirements) that apply to the Fund but not to the Underlying Index. From time to time, the Index Provider may make changes to the methodology or other adjustments to the Underlying Index. Unless otherwise determined by BFA, any such change or adjustment will be reflected in the calculation of the Underlying Index performance on a going-forward basis after the effective date of such change or adjustment. Therefore, the Underlying Index performance shown for periods prior to the effective date of any such change or adjustment will generally not be recalculated or restated to reflect such change or adjustment.
“Tracking error” is the divergence of the performance (return) of the Fund's portfolio from that of the Underlying Index. BFA expects that, over time, the Fund’s tracking error will not exceed 5%. Because the Fund uses a representative sampling indexing strategy, it can be expected to have a larger tracking error than if it used a replication indexing strategy. “Replication” is an indexing strategy in which a fund invests in substantially all of the securities in its underlying index in approximately the same proportions as in the underlying index.
Under continuous listing standards adopted by the Fund's listing exchange, which went into effect on January 1, 2018, the Fund is required to confirm on an ongoing basis that the components of the Underlying Index satisfy the applicable listing requirements. In the event that the Underlying Index does not comply with the applicable listing requirements, the Fund is required to rectify such non-compliance by requesting that the Index Provider modify the Underlying Index, adopting a new underlying index, or obtaining relief from the SEC. Failure to rectify such non-compliance may result in the Fund being delisted by the listing exchange.
An investment in the Fund is not a bank deposit and it is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency, BFA or any of its affiliates.
The Fund's investment objective and the Underlying Index may be changed without shareholder approval.
A Further Discussion of Principal Risks
The Fund is subject to various risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund’s NAV, trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective. You could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Fund could underperform other investments.
Asset Class Risk. The securities and other assets in the Underlying Index or in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to other securities or indexes that track other countries, groups of countries, regions, industries, groups of industries, markets, asset classes or sectors. Various types of securities, currencies and indexes may experience cycles of outperformance and underperformance in comparison to the general financial markets depending upon a number of factors including, among other things, inflation, interest rates, productivity, global demand for local products or resources, and regulation and governmental controls. This may cause the Fund to underperform other investment vehicles that invest in different asset classes.
2

 


Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem Creation Units, Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting. Authorized Participant concentration risk may be heightened because ETFs, such as the Fund, that invest in securities issued by non-U.S. issuers or other securities or instruments that are less widely traded often involve greater settlement and operational issues and capital costs for Authorized Participants, which may limit the availability of Authorized Participants.
Call Risk. During periods of falling interest rates, an issuer of a callable bond held by the Fund may “call” or repay the security before its stated maturity, and the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in securities with lower yields, which would result in a decline in the Fund’s income, or in securities with greater risks or with other less favorable features.
Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund's investments are concentrated in the securities of a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. The Fund may be more adversely affected by the underperformance of those securities, may experience increased price volatility and may be more susceptible to adverse economic, market, political or regulatory occurrences affecting those securities than a fund that does not concentrate its investments.
Consumer Staples Sector Risk. Companies in the consumer staples sector may be affected by the regulation of various product components and production methods, marketing campaigns and changes in the global economy, consumer spending and consumer demand. Tobacco companies, in particular, may be adversely affected by new laws, regulations and litigation. Companies in the consumer staples sector may also be adversely affected by changes or trends in commodity prices, which may be influenced by unpredictable factors. These companies may be subject to severe competition, which may have an adverse impact on their profitability.
Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that the issuer or guarantor of a debt instrument or the counterparty to a derivatives contract, repurchase agreement or loan of portfolio securities will be unable or unwilling to make its timely interest and/or principal payments when due or otherwise honor its obligations. There are varying degrees of credit risk, depending on an issuer’s or counterparty’s financial condition and on the terms of an obligation, which may be reflected in the issuer’s or counterparty’s credit rating. There is the chance that the Fund’s portfolio holdings will have their credit ratings downgraded or will default (i.e., fail to make scheduled interest or principal payments), or that the market’s perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness may worsen, potentially reducing the Fund’s income level or share price.
3

 


Cyber Security Risk. With the increased use of technologies such as the internet to conduct business, the Fund, Authorized Participants, service providers and the relevant listing exchange are susceptible to operational, information security and related “cyber” risks both directly and through their service providers. Similar types of cyber security risks are also present for issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers and may cause the Fund’s investment in such portfolio companies to lose value. Unlike many other types of risks faced by the Fund, these risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyber-attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Cyber security failures by or breaches of the systems of the Fund’s adviser, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, index and benchmark providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses, interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its NAV, disclosure of confidential trading information, impediments to trading, submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders, the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, or additional compliance costs. In addition, cyber-attacks may render records of Fund assets and transactions, shareholder ownership of Fund shares, and other data integral to the functioning of the Fund inaccessible or inaccurate or incomplete. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber-attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, the Index Provider, market makers or Authorized Participants. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.
Declining Yield Risk. During the twelve months prior to the Fund's planned termination date, the bonds held by the Fund will mature and the Fund’s portfolio will convert to cash or cash equivalents. During these final twelve months, the Fund’s yield will generally tend to move toward prevailing money market rates, and may be lower than the yields of the bonds previously held by the Fund and lower than prevailing yields for bonds in the market.
Extension Risk. During periods of rising interest rates, certain debt obligations may be paid off substantially more slowly than originally anticipated and the value of those
4

 


securities may fall sharply, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income and potentially in the value of the Fund’s investments.
Financials Sector Risk. Companies in the financials sector of an economy are subject to extensive governmental regulation and intervention, which may adversely affect the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge, the amount of capital they must maintain and, potentially, their size. The extent to which the Fund may invest in a company that engages in securities-related activities or banking is limited by applicable law. Governmental regulation may change frequently and may have significant adverse consequences for companies in the financials sector, including effects not intended by such regulation. Recently enacted legislation in the U.S. has relaxed capital requirements and other regulatory burdens on certain U.S. banks. While the effect of the legislation may benefit certain companies in the financials sector, increased risk taking by affected banks may also result in greater overall risk in the financials sector. The impact of changes in capital requirements, or recent or future regulation in various countries, on any individual financial company or on the financials sector as a whole cannot be predicted. Certain risks may impact the value of investments in the financials sector more severely than those of investments outside this sector, including the risks associated with companies that operate with substantial financial leverage. Companies in the financials sector may also be adversely affected by increases in interest rates and loan losses, decreases in the availability of money or asset valuations, credit rating downgrades and adverse conditions in other related markets. Insurance companies, in particular, may be subject to severe price competition and/or rate regulation, which may have an adverse impact on their profitability. The financials sector is particularly sensitive to fluctuations in interest rates. The financials sector is also a target for cyber-attacks, and may experience technology malfunctions and disruptions. In recent years, cyber-attacks and technology malfunctions and failures have become increasingly frequent in this sector and have reportedly caused losses to companies in this sector, which may negatively impact the Fund.
Fluctuation of Yield and Liquidation Amount Risk. The Fund, unlike a direct investment in a bond that has a level coupon payment and a fixed payment at maturity, will make distributions of income that vary over time. It is expected that an investment in the Fund, if held through maturity, will produce aggregate returns comparable to a direct investment in a group of bonds of similar credit quality and maturity to those held by the Fund, but unlike a direct investment in bonds, the breakdown of returns between Fund distributions and liquidation proceeds will not be predictable at the time of your investment. The Fund may make distributions at a greater (or lesser) rate than the coupon payments received on the Fund's portfolio, which will result in the Fund returning a lesser (or greater) amount on liquidation than would otherwise be the case. The breakdown between Fund distribution payments and the amount of liquidation proceeds may adversely affect the tax characterization of your returns from an investment in the Fund relative to a direct investment in bonds. If the amount you receive as liquidation proceeds upon the Fund's termination is higher or lower than your cost basis, you may experience a gain or loss for tax purposes. In addition, the yield on your investment (i.e., the return on your purchase price) may be lower (or higher) than the Fund's published yields, which are based on the Fund's NAV.
5

 


Illiquid Investments Risk. The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. To the extent the Fund holds illiquid investments, the illiquid investments may reduce the returns of the Fund because the Fund may be unable to transact at advantageous times or prices. An investment may be illiquid due to, among other things, the reduced number and capacity of traditional market participants to make a market in securities or instruments or the lack of an active market for such securities or instruments. To the extent that the Fund invests in securities or instruments with substantial market and/or credit risk, the Fund will tend to have increased exposure to the risks associated with illiquid investments. Liquid investments may become illiquid after purchase by the Fund, particularly during periods of market turmoil. There can be no assurance that a security or instrument that is deemed to be liquid when purchased will continue to be liquid for as long as it is held by the Fund and any security or instrument held by the Fund may be deemed an illiquid investment pursuant to the Fund’s Liquidity Program. Illiquid investments may be harder to value, especially in changing markets. Although the Fund primarily seeks to redeem shares of the Fund on an in-kind basis, if the Fund is forced to sell underlying investments at reduced prices or under unfavorable conditions to meet redemption requests or for other cash needs, the Fund may suffer a loss. This may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment or other circumstances where redemptions from the Fund may be greater than normal. Other market participants may be attempting to liquidate holdings at the same time as the Fund, causing increased supply of the Fund’s underlying investments in the market and contributing to illiquid investments risk and downward pricing pressure.
Income Risk. The Fund’s income may decline if interest rates fall. This decline in income can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding instruments, as bonds in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, bonds in the Underlying Index are substituted, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional bonds. The Index Provider’s substitution of bonds in the Underlying Index may occur, for example, when the time to maturity for the bond no longer matches the Underlying Index’s stated maturity guidelines. In addition, the Fund's income is expected to decline in the months leading up to its maturity date because it will increasingly hold primarily cash and cash equivalents. As the Fund does not seek to retain any predetermined amount at maturity or in periodic distributions, the amount of income generated by the Fund may vary during its term.
Index-Related Risk. The Fund seeks to achieve a return that corresponds generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Underlying Index as published by the Index Provider. There is no assurance that the Index Provider or any agents that may act on its behalf will compile the Underlying Index accurately, or that the Underlying Index will be determined, composed or calculated accurately. While the Index Provider provides descriptions of what the Underlying Index is designed to achieve, neither the Index Provider nor its agents provide any warranty or accept any liability in relation to the quality, accuracy or completeness of the Underlying Index or its related data, and they do not guarantee that the Underlying Index will be in line with the Index Provider’s methodology. BFA’s mandate as described in this Prospectus is to
6

 


manage the Fund consistently with the Underlying Index provided by the Index Provider to BFA. BFA does not provide any warranty or guarantee against the Index Provider’s or any agent’s errors. Errors in respect of the quality, accuracy and completeness of the data used to compile the Underlying Index may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all, particularly where the indices are less commonly used as benchmarks by funds or managers. For example, during a period where the Underlying Index contains incorrect constituents, the Fund would have market exposure to such constituents and would be underexposed to the Underlying Index’s other constituents. Such errors may negatively or positively impact the Fund and its shareholders. Shareholders should understand that any gains from Index Provider errors will be kept by the Fund and its shareholders and any losses or costs resulting from Index Provider errors will be borne by the Fund and its shareholders.
Apart from scheduled rebalances, the Index Provider or its agents may carry out additional ad hoc rebalances to the Underlying Index in order, for example, to correct an error in the selection of index constituents. When the Underlying Index is rebalanced and the Fund in turn rebalances its portfolio to attempt to increase the correlation between the Fund’s portfolio and the Underlying Index, any transaction costs and market exposure arising from such portfolio rebalancing will be borne directly by the Fund and its shareholders. Unscheduled rebalances to the Underlying Index may expose the Fund to additional tracking error risk, which is the risk that the Fund's returns may not track those of the Underlying Index. Therefore, errors and additional ad hoc rebalances carried out by the Index Provider or its agents to the Underlying Index may increase the costs to and the tracking error risk of the Fund.
Industrials Sector Risk. The value of securities issued by companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by supply and demand changes related to their specific products or services and industrials sector products in general. The products of manufacturing companies may face obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction. Global events and changes in government regulations, economic conditions and exchange rates may adversely affect the performance of companies in the industrials sector. Companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by liability for environmental damage and product liability claims. The industrials sector may also be adversely affected by changes or trends in commodity prices, which may be influenced by unpredictable factors. Companies in the industrials sector, particularly aerospace and defense companies, may also be adversely affected by government spending policies because companies in this sector tend to rely to a significant extent on government demand for their products and services.
Interest Rate Risk. As interest rates rise, the value of a fixed-income security held by the Fund is likely to decrease. Securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes, usually making their prices more volatile than those of securities with shorter durations. To the extent the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in fixed-income securities with longer-term durations, which is expected to occur to a greater degree earlier in the life of the Fund, rising interest rates may cause the value of the Fund’s investments to decline significantly . An
7

 


increase in interest rates may lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and adversely affect the liquidity of certain fixed-income investments. In addition, decreases in fixed-income dealer market-making capacity may also potentially lead to heightened volatility and reduced liquidity in the fixed-income markets.
The historically low interest rate environment in recent years was created in part by the U.S. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Fed”) and certain foreign central banks keeping the federal funds and equivalent foreign rates at or near zero percent. The Fed recently raised its benchmark interest rate several times as the U.S. labor market strengthened and economic activity accelerated. The Fed indicated that it expects some further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Fed’s objective over the medium term.
Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. Any issuer of these securities may perform poorly, causing the value of its securities to decline. Poor performance may be caused by poor management decisions, competitive pressures, changes in technology, expiration of patent protection, disruptions in supply, labor problems or shortages, corporate restructurings, fraudulent disclosures, credit deterioration of the issuer or other factors. Changes to the financial condition or credit rating of an issuer of those securities may cause the value of the securities to decline. An issuer may also be subject to risks associated with the countries, states and regions in which the issuer resides, invests, sells products, or otherwise conducts operations.
Management Risk. Because BFA uses a representative sampling indexing strategy, the Fund will not fully replicate the Underlying Index and may hold securities not included in the Underlying Index. As a result, the Fund is subject to the risk that BFA’s investment strategy, the implementation of which is subject to a number of constraints, may not produce the intended results.
Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. Market risk arises mainly from uncertainty about future values of financial instruments and may be influenced by price, currency and interest rate movements. It represents the potential loss the Fund may suffer through holding financial instruments in the face of market movements or uncertainty. The value of a security or other asset may decline due to changes in general market conditions, economic trends or events that are not specifically related to the issuer of the security or other asset, or factors that affect a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. During a general market downturn, multiple asset classes may be negatively affected. Fixed-income securities with short-term maturities are generally less sensitive to such changes than are fixed-income securities with longer-term maturities. Changes in market conditions and interest rates generally do not have the same impact on all types of securities and instruments.
8

 


Market Trading Risk
Absence of Active Market. Although shares of the Fund are listed for trading on one or more stock exchanges, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained by market makers or Authorized Participants.
Risk of Secondary Listings. The Fund's shares may be listed or traded on U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges other than the U.S. stock exchange where the Fund's primary listing is maintained, and may otherwise be made available to non-U.S. investors through funds or structured investment vehicles similar to depositary receipts. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s shares will continue to trade on any such stock exchange or in any market or that the Fund’s shares will continue to meet the requirements for listing or trading on any exchange or in any market. The Fund's shares may be less actively traded in certain markets than in others, and investors are subject to the execution and settlement risks and market standards of the market where they or their broker direct their trades for execution. Certain information available to investors who trade Fund shares on a U.S. stock exchange during regular U.S. market hours may not be available to investors who trade in other markets, which may result in secondary market prices in such markets being less efficient.
Secondary Market Trading Risk. Shares of the Fund may trade in the secondary market at times when the Fund does not accept orders to purchase or redeem shares. At such times, shares may trade in the secondary market with more significant premiums or discounts than might be experienced at times when the Fund accepts purchase and redemption orders.
Secondary market trading in Fund shares may be halted by a stock exchange because of market conditions or for other reasons. In addition, trading in Fund shares on a stock exchange or in any market may be subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to “circuit breaker” rules on the stock exchange or market.
Shares of the Fund, similar to shares of other issuers listed on a stock exchange, may be sold short and are therefore subject to the risk of increased volatility and price decreases associated with being sold short.
Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. Shares of the Fund trade on stock exchanges at prices at, above or below the Fund’s most recent NAV. The NAV of the Fund is calculated at the end of each business day and fluctuates with changes in the market value of the Fund’s holdings. The trading price of the Fund's shares fluctuates continuously throughout trading hours based on both market supply of and demand for Fund shares and the underlying value of the Fund's portfolio holdings or NAV. As a result, the trading prices of the Fund’s shares may deviate significantly from NAV during periods of market volatility, including during periods of significant redemption requests or other unusual market conditions. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND'S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV. However, because shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units at NAV, BFA believes that large discounts or premiums to the NAV of the
9

 


Fund are not likely to be sustained over the long term (unlike shares of many closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their NAVs). While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it more likely that the Fund’s shares normally will trade on stock exchanges at prices close to the Fund’s next calculated NAV, exchange prices are not expected to correlate exactly with the NAV due to timing reasons, supply and demand imbalances and other factors. In addition, disruptions to creations and redemptions, including disruptions at market makers, Authorized Participants, or other market participants, and during periods of significant market volatility, may result in trading prices for shares of the Fund that differ significantly from its NAV. Authorized Participants may be less willing to create or redeem Fund shares if there is a lack of an active market for such shares or its underlying investments, which may contribute to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to NAV.
Costs of Buying or Selling Fund Shares. Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange involves two types of costs that apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you will likely incur a brokerage commission and other charges. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread”; that is, the difference between what investors are willing to pay for Fund shares (the “bid” price) and the price at which they are willing to sell Fund shares (the “ask” price). The spread, which varies over time for shares of the Fund based on trading volume and market liquidity, is generally narrower if the Fund has more trading volume and market liquidity and wider if the Fund has less trading volume and market liquidity. In addition, increased market volatility may cause wider spreads. There may also be regulatory and other charges that are incurred as a result of trading activity. Because of the costs inherent in buying or selling Fund shares, frequent trading may detract significantly from investment results and an investment in Fund shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments through a brokerage account.
Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks.
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed and may be affected by a general decline in market segments related to its Underlying Index. The Fund invests in securities included in, or representative of, its Underlying Index, regardless of their investment merits. BFA generally does not attempt to invest the Fund's assets in defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets.
Privately-Issued Securities Risk. The Fund may invest in privately-issued securities, including those that are normally purchased pursuant to Rule 144A or Regulation S under the 1933 Act. Privately-issued securities typically may be resold only to qualified institutional buyers, or in a privately negotiated transaction, or to a limited number of purchasers, or in limited quantities after they have been held for a specified period of
10

 


time and other conditions are met for an exemption from registration. Because there may be relatively few potential purchasers for such securities, especially under adverse market or economic conditions or in the event of adverse changes in the financial condition of the issuer, the Fund may find it more difficult to sell such securities when it may be advisable to do so or it may be able to sell such securities only at prices lower than if such securities were more widely held and traded. At times, it also may be more difficult to determine the fair value of such securities for purposes of computing the Fund’s NAV due to the absence of an active trading market. There can be no assurance that a privately-issued security that is deemed to be liquid when purchased will continue to be liquid for as long as it is held by the Fund, and its value may decline as a result.
Reinvestment Risk. The Fund may invest a portion of its assets in short-term fixed-income instruments and as a result, may be adversely affected when interest rates fall because it may have to invest in lower yielding bonds as bonds in the Fund's portfolio mature. This may cause the Fund's income to decline, which may adversely affect the value of the Fund. This risk is typically greater with respect to short-term bond funds and lower for long-term bond funds.
Reliance on Trading Partners Risk. The economies of many countries or regions in which the Fund invests are highly dependent on trade with certain key trading partners. Reduction in spending on products and services by these key trading partners, institution of tariffs or other trade barriers or a slowdown in the economies of key trading partners may adversely affect the performance of any company in which the Fund invests and may have a material adverse effect on the Fund's performance.
Risk of Investing in the U.S. A decrease in imports or exports, changes in trade regulations and/or an economic recession in the U.S. may have a material adverse effect on the U.S. economy and the securities listed on U.S. exchanges. Proposed and adopted policy and legislative changes in the U.S. are changing many aspects of financial and other regulation and may have a significant effect on the U.S. markets generally, as well as on the value of certain securities. In addition, a continued rise in the U.S. public debt level or U.S. austerity measures may adversely affect U.S. economic growth and the securities to which the Fund has exposure.
The U.S. has developed increasingly strained relations with a number of foreign countries. If these relations were to worsen, it could adversely affect U.S. issuers as well as non-U.S. issuers that rely on the U.S. for trade. The U.S. has also experienced increased internal unrest and discord. If this trend were to continue, it may have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy and many of the issuers in which the Fund invests.
Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money in the event of a decline in the value of collateral provided for loaned securities or a decline in the value of any investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A., the Fund's securities lending agent, will
11

 


take into account the tax impact to shareholders of substitute payments for dividends when managing the Fund's securities lending program.
Tracking Error Risk. The Fund may be subject to tracking error, which is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Underlying Index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities and other instruments held in the Fund’s portfolio and those included in the Underlying Index, pricing differences (including, as applicable, differences between a security’s price at the local market close and the Fund's valuation of a security at the time of calculation of the Fund's NAV), differences in transaction costs, the Fund’s holding of uninvested cash, differences in timing of the accrual of or the valuation of distributions, the requirements to maintain pass-through tax treatment, portfolio transactions carried out to minimize the distribution of capital gains to shareholders, changes to the Underlying Index or the costs to the Fund of complying with various new or existing regulatory requirements. This risk may be heightened during times of increased market volatility or other unusual market conditions. Tracking error also may result because the Fund incurs fees and expenses, while the Underlying Index does not.
Valuation Risk. Because the bond market may be open on days or during time periods when the Fund does not price its shares, the value of the securities or other assets in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days or during time periods when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s shares.
A Further Discussion of Other Risks
The Fund may also be subject to certain other risks associated with its investments and investment strategies.
Capital Goods Industry Risk. Companies in the capital goods industry may be affected by fluctuations in the business cycle and by other factors affecting manufacturing demands. The capital goods industry depends heavily on corporate spending. Companies in the capital goods industry may perform well during times of economic expansion, but as economic conditions worsen, the demand for capital goods may decrease. Many capital goods are sold internationally, and companies in this industry may be affected by market conditions in other countries and regions.
Close-out Risk for Qualified Financial Contracts. Regulations adopted by the prudential regulators require counterparties that are part of U.S. or foreign global systemically important banking organizations to include contractual restrictions on close-out and cross-default in agreements relating to qualified financial contracts. Qualified financial contracts include agreements relating to swaps, currency forwards and other derivatives as well as repurchase agreements and securities lending agreements. The restrictions prevent the Fund from closing out a qualified financial contract during a specified time period if the counterparty is subject to resolution proceedings and prohibit the Fund from exercising default rights due to a receivership or similar proceeding of an affiliate of the counterparty. These requirements may increase credit and other risks to the Fund.
Communication Services Sector Risk. The communication services sector consists of both companies in the telecommunication services industry as well as those in the
12

 


media and entertainment industry. Examples of companies in the telecommunication services industry group include providers of fiber-optic, fixed-line, cellular and wireless telecommunications networks. Companies in the media and entertainment industry group encompass a variety of services and products including television broadcasting, gaming products, social media, networking platforms, online classifieds, online review websites and Internet search engines.
The communication services sector of a country’s economy is often subject to extensive government regulation. The costs of complying with governmental regulations, delays or failure to receive required regulatory approvals, or the enactment of new regulatory requirements may negatively affect the business of communications companies. Government actions around the world, specifically in the area of pre-marketing clearance of products and prices, can be arbitrary and unpredictable. Companies in the communication services sector may encounter distressed cash flows due to the need to commit substantial capital to meet increasing competition, particularly in developing new products and services using new technology. Technological innovations may make the products and services of certain communications companies obsolete.
The domestic telecommunications market is characterized by increasing competition and regulation by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and various state regulatory authorities. Telecommunications providers are generally required to obtain franchises or licenses in order to provide services in a given location. Licensing and franchise rights in the telecommunications sector are limited, which may provide an advantage to certain participants. Limited availability of such rights, high barriers to market entry and regulatory oversight, among other factors, have led to consolidation of companies within the sector, which could lead to further regulation or other negative effects in the future.
Companies in the media and entertainment industries can be significantly affected by several factors, including competition, particularly in formulation of products and services using new technologies, cyclicality of revenues and earnings, a potential decrease in the discretionary income of targeted individuals, changing consumer tastes and interests, and the potential increase in state and federal government regulation. Companies in the media and entertainment industries may become obsolete quickly. Advertising spending can be an important revenue source for media and entertainment companies. During economic downturns advertising spending typically decreases and, as a result, media and entertainment companies tend to generate less revenue.
Consumer Cyclical Industry Risk. The success of consumer cyclical companies is tied closely to the performance of domestic and international economies, exchange rates, interest rates, competition, consumer confidence, changes in demographics and preferences. Companies in the consumer cyclical industry sector depend heavily on disposable household income and consumer spending, and may be strongly affected by social trends and marketing campaigns. These companies may be subject to severe competition, which may have an adverse impact on their profitability.
Energy Sector Risk. The success of companies in the energy sector may be cyclical and highly dependent on energy prices. The market value of securities issued by
13

 


companies in the energy sector may decline for many reasons, including, among other reasons: changes in the levels and volatility of global energy prices, energy supply and demand, and capital expenditures on exploration and production of energy sources; exchange rates, interest rates, economic conditions, and tax treatment; and energy conservation efforts, increased competition and technological advances. Companies in this sector may be subject to substantial government regulation and contractual fixed pricing, which may increase the cost of doing business and limit the earnings of these companies. A significant portion of the revenues of these companies may depend on a relatively small number of customers, including governmental entities and utilities. As a result, governmental budget constraints may have a material adverse effect on the stock prices of companies in this sector. Energy companies may also operate in, or engage in, transactions involving countries with less developed regulatory regimes or a history of expropriation, nationalization or other adverse policies. Energy companies also face a significant risk of liability from accidents resulting in injury or loss of life or property, pollution or other environmental problems, equipment malfunctions or mishandling of materials and a risk of loss from terrorism, political strife or natural disasters. Any such event could have serious consequences for the general population of the affected area and could have an adverse impact on the Fund’s portfolio and the performance of the Fund. Energy companies can be significantly affected by the supply of, and demand for, specific products (e.g., oil and natural gas) and services, exploration and production spending, government subsidization, world events and general economic conditions. Energy companies may have relatively high levels of debt and may be more likely than other companies to restructure their businesses if there are downturns in energy markets or in the global economy.
European Economic Risk. The European Union (the “EU”) requires compliance by member states with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates and debt levels, as well as fiscal and monetary controls, each of which may significantly affect every country in Europe, including those countries that are not members of the EU. Changes in imports or exports, changes in governmental or EU regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the euro (the common currency of certain EU countries), the default or threat of default by an EU member state on its sovereign debt and/or an economic recession in an EU member state may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of EU member states and their trading partners. The European financial markets have historically experienced volatility and adverse trends due to concerns about economic downturns or rising government debt levels in several European countries, including, but not limited to, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine. These events have adversely affected the exchange rate of the euro and may continue to significantly affect European countries.
Responses to financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not produce the desired results, may result in social unrest, may limit future growth and economic recovery or may have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and other entities of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets and asset valuations around the world. In addition, one or more countries may abandon the euro and/or withdraw from the EU. In a referendum held
14

 


on June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom (the “U.K.”) resolved to leave the EU (“Brexit”). The referendum may introduce significant uncertainties and instability in the financial markets as the U.K. negotiates its exit from the EU. The outcome of negotiations remains uncertain. U.K. businesses are increasingly preparing for a disorderly Brexit, and the consequences for European and U.K. businesses could be severe. The Fund will face risks associated with the potential uncertainty and consequences that may follow Brexit, including with respect to volatility in exchange rates and interest rates. Brexit could adversely affect European or worldwide political, regulatory, economic or market conditions and could contribute to instability in global political institutions, regulatory agencies and financial markets. Brexit could also lead to legal uncertainty and politically divergent national laws and regulations as a new relationship between the U.K. and EU is defined and the U.K. determines which EU laws to replace or replicate. Any of these effects of Brexit could adversely affect any of the companies to which the Fund has exposure and any other assets in which the Fund invests. The political, economic and legal consequences of Brexit are not yet known. In the short term, financial markets may experience heightened volatility, particularly those in the U.K. and Europe, but possibly worldwide. The U.K. may be less stable than it has been in recent years, and investments in the U.K. may be difficult to value, or subject to greater or more frequent rises and falls in value. In the longer term, there is likely to be a period of significant political, regulatory and commercial uncertainty as the U.K. seeks to negotiate its long-term exit from the EU.
Secessionist movements, such as the Catalan movement in Spain and the independence movement in Scotland, as well as governmental or other responses to such movements, may also create instability and uncertainty in the region. In addition, the national politics of countries in the EU have been unpredictable and subject to influence by varying political groups and ideologies. The governments of EU countries may be subject to change and such countries may experience social and political unrest. Unanticipated or sudden political or social developments may result in sudden and significant investment losses. The occurrence of terrorist incidents throughout Europe also could impact financial markets. The impact of these events is not clear but could be significant and far-reaching and could adversely affect the value and liquidity of the Fund's investments.
Non-U.S. Issuers Risk. The Fund may invest in U.S. dollar-denominated bonds of non-U.S. corporations. Securities issued by non-U.S. issuers have different risks from securities issued by U.S. issuers. These risks include differences in accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, the possibility of expropriation or confiscatory taxation, adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations, political instability which could affect U.S. investments in non-U.S. countries, uncertainties of transnational litigation, and potential restrictions on the flow of international capital, including the possible seizure or nationalization of the securities issued by non-U.S. issuers held by the Fund . Non-U.S. issuers may be subject to less governmental regulation than U.S. issuers. Moreover, individual non-U.S. economies may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross domestic product, rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency and balance of payment positions. Unfavorable political, economic or governmental developments in non-U.S. countries could affect the payment of a
15

 


security’s principal and interest. Securities issued by non-U.S. issuers may also be less liquid and more difficult to value than securities of U.S. issuers. In addition, the value of these securities may fluctuate due to changes in the exchange rate of the issuer’s local currency against the U.S. dollar.
Risk of Investing in Developed Countries. Investment in developed country issuers may subject the Fund to regulatory, political, currency, security, economic and other risks associated with developed countries. Developed countries generally tend to rely on services sectors (e.g., the financial services sector) as the primary means of economic growth. A prolonged slowdown in one or more services sectors is likely to have a negative impact on economies of certain developed countries, although economies of individual developed countries can be impacted by slowdowns in other sectors. In the past, certain developed countries have been targets of terrorism, and some geographic areas in which the Fund invests have experienced strained international relations due to territorial disputes, historical animosities, defense concerns and other security concerns. These situations may cause uncertainty in the financial markets in these countries or geographic areas and may adversely affect the performance of the issuers to which the Fund has exposure. Heavy regulation of certain markets, including labor and product markets, may have an adverse effect on certain issuers. Such regulations may negatively affect economic growth or cause prolonged periods of recession. Many developed countries are heavily indebted and face rising healthcare and retirement expenses. In addition, price fluctuations of certain commodities and regulations impacting the import of commodities may negatively affect developed country economies.
Technology Sector Risk. Technology companies, including information technology companies, face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, which may have an adverse effect on a company’s profit margins. Technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. The products of technology companies may face obsolescence due to rapid technological developments, frequent new product introduction, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. Companies in the technology sector are heavily dependent on patent and other intellectual property rights. A technology company’s loss or impairment of these rights may adversely affect the company’s profitability.
Threshold/Underinvestment Risk. If certain aggregate ownership thresholds are reached either through the actions of BFA and its affiliates or the Fund, or as a result of third-party transactions, the ability of BFA and its affiliates on behalf of clients (including the Fund) to purchase or dispose of investments, or exercise rights or undertake business transactions, may be restricted by regulation or otherwise impaired. The capacity of the Fund to make investments in certain securities may be affected by the relevant threshold limits, and such limitations may have adverse effects on the liquidity and performance of the Fund’s portfolio holdings compared to the performance of the Underlying Index. This may increase the risk of the Fund being underinvested to the Underlying Index and increase the risk of tracking error.
16

 


Portfolio Holdings Information
A description of the Trust's policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities is available in the Fund's Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”). The top holdings of the Fund can be found at www.iShares.com. Fund fact sheets provide information regarding the Fund's top holdings and may be requested by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737).
Management
Investment Adviser. As investment adviser, BFA has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the Fund. BFA provides an investment program for the Fund and manages the investment of the Fund’s assets. In managing the Fund, BFA may draw upon the research and expertise of its asset management affiliates with respect to certain portfolio securities. In seeking to achieve the Fund's investment objective, BFA uses teams of portfolio managers, investment strategists and other investment specialists. This team approach brings together many disciplines and leverages BFA’s extensive resources.
Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement between BFA and the Trust (entered into on behalf of the Fund), BFA is responsible for substantially all expenses of the Fund, except the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses (as determined by a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust).
For its investment advisory services to the Fund, BFA is paid a management fee from the Fund based on a percentage of the Fund's average daily net assets, at the annual rate of 0.10%. BFA has contractually agreed to waive a portion of its management fees in an amount equal to the Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, if any, attributable to investments by the Fund in other funds advised by BFA or its affiliates through the termination date of the Fund. The contractual waiver may be terminated prior to the Fund's termination only upon the written agreement of the Trust and BFA. In addition, BFA may from time to time voluntarily waive and/or reimburse fees or expenses in order to limit total annual fund operating expenses (excluding Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, if any). Any such voluntary waiver or reimbursement may be eliminated by BFA at any time.
BFA is located at 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. It is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock. As of December 31, 2018, BFA and its affiliates provided investment advisory services for assets in excess of $5.97 trillion. BFA and its affiliates trade and invest for their own accounts in the actual securities and types of securities in which the Fund may also invest, which may affect the price of such securities.
A discussion regarding the basis for the approval by the Board of the Investment Advisory Agreement with BFA is available in the Fund's annual report for the period ended October 31.
17

 


Portfolio Managers. James Mauro and Scott Radell are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager is responsible for various functions related to portfolio management, including, but not limited to, investing cash inflows, coordinating with members of his portfolio management team to focus on certain asset classes, implementing investment strategy, researching and reviewing investment strategy and overseeing members of his portfolio management team that have more limited responsibilities.
James Mauro has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Mauro was a Vice President at State Street Global Advisors. Mr. Mauro has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2015.
Scott Radell has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2004. Mr. Radell was a credit strategist from 2003 to 2004 and became a portfolio manager at Barclays Global Fund Advisors in 2004. Mr. Radell has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2015.
The Fund's SAI provides additional information about the Portfolio Managers' compensation, other accounts managed by the Portfolio Managers and the Portfolio Managers' ownership (if any) of shares in the Fund.
Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent. State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) is the administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the Fund.
Conflicts of Interest. The investment activities of BFA and its affiliates (including BlackRock and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Affiliates”)) and their directors, officers and employees and of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (which, through a subsidiary, has a significant economic interest in BlackRock) and its subsidiaries (each with The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., an “Entity” and collectively, the “Entities”) in the management of, or their interest in, their own accounts and other accounts they manage, may present conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA, its Affiliates and the Entities provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that may follow investment programs similar to that of the Fund. BFA, its Affiliates and the Entities are involved worldwide with a broad spectrum of financial services and asset management activities and may engage in the ordinary course of business in activities in which their interests or the interests of their clients may conflict with those of the Fund. BFA or one or more Affiliates or Entities act, or may act, as an investor, investment banker, research provider, investment manager, commodity pool operator, commodity trading advisor, financier, underwriter, adviser, market maker, trader, prime broker, lender, index provider, agent and principal, and have other direct and indirect interests in securities, currencies, commodities, derivatives and other instruments in which the Fund may directly or indirectly invest. Thus, it is likely that the Fund will have multiple business relationships with and will invest in, engage in transactions with, make voting decisions with respect to, or obtain services from, entities for which an Affiliate or an Entity performs or seeks to perform investment banking or other services. Specifically, the Fund may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies with which an Affiliate or an Entity has developed or is trying to develop investment banking relationships or in which an
18

 


Affiliate or an Entity has significant debt or equity investments or other interests. The Fund may also invest in issuances (such as structured notes) by entities for which an Affiliate or an Entity provides and is compensated for cash management services relating to the proceeds from the sale of such issuances. The Fund also may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies for which an Affiliate or an Entity provides or may in the future provide research coverage. An Affiliate or an Entity may have business relationships with, and purchase, or distribute or sell services or products from or to, distributors, consultants or others who recommend the Fund or who engage in transactions with or for the Fund, and may receive compensation for such services. The Fund may also make brokerage and other payments to Entities in connection with the Fund's portfolio investment transactions. BFA or one or more Affiliates or Entities may engage in proprietary trading and advise accounts and funds that have investment objectives similar to those of the Fund and/or that engage in and compete for transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and other instruments as the Fund. This may include transactions in securities issued by other open-end and closed-end investment companies (which may include investment companies that are affiliated with the Fund and BFA, to the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”)). The trading activities of BFA and these Affiliates or Entities are carried out without reference to positions held directly or indirectly by the Fund and may result in BFA or an Affiliate or an Entity having positions in certain securities that are senior or junior to, or have interests different from or adverse to, the securities that are owned by the Fund.
Neither BlackRock nor any Affiliate is under any obligation to share any investment opportunity, idea or strategy with the Fund. As a result, an Affiliate may compete with the Fund for appropriate investment opportunities. The results of the Fund's investment activities, therefore, may differ from those of an Affiliate and of other accounts managed by an Affiliate, and it is possible that the Fund could sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates and other accounts achieve profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. The opposite result is also possible.
In addition, the Fund may, from time to time, enter into transactions in which BFA or an Affiliate or an Entity or its or their directors, officers or employees or other clients have an adverse interest. Furthermore, transactions undertaken by clients advised or managed by BFA, its Affiliates or Entities may adversely impact the Fund. Transactions by one or more clients or by BFA, its Affiliates or Entities or their directors, officers or employees, may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund.
The Fund's activities may be limited because of regulatory restrictions applicable to BFA, one or more Affiliates or Entities and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions.
Under a securities lending program approved by the Board, the Fund has retained BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A., an Affiliate of BFA, to serve as the securities lending agent for the Fund to the extent that the Fund participates in the securities lending program. For these services, the securities lending agent will receive a fee from the Fund, including a fee based on the returns earned on the Fund’s investment of the cash received as collateral for the loaned securities. In addition, one
19

 


or more Affiliates or Entities may be among the entities to which the Fund may lend its portfolio securities under the securities lending program.
The activities of BFA, its Affiliates and Entities and their respective directors, officers or employees, may give rise to other conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA has adopted policies and procedures designed to address these potential conflicts of interest. See the SAI for further information.
Shareholder Information
Additional shareholder information, including how to buy and sell shares of the Fund, is available free of charge by calling toll-free: 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or visiting our website at www.iShares.com.
Buying and Selling Shares. Shares of the Fund may be acquired or redeemed directly from the Fund only in Creation Units or multiples thereof, as discussed in the Creations and Redemptions section of this Prospectus. Only an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section below) may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. Once created, shares of the Fund generally trade in the secondary market in amounts less than a Creation Unit.
Shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange for trading during the trading day. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like shares of other publicly-traded companies. The Trust does not impose any minimum investment for shares of the Fund purchased on an exchange or otherwise in the secondary market. The Fund's shares trade under the ticker symbol “IBDN.”
Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange or other secondary market involves two types of costs that may apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you may incur a brokerage commission and other charges. The commission is frequently a fixed amount and may be a significant proportional cost for investors seeking to buy or sell small amounts of shares. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread,” that is, any difference between the bid price and the ask price. The spread varies over time for shares of the Fund based on the Fund’s trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally lower if the Fund has high trading volume and market liquidity, and higher if the Fund has little trading volume and market liquidity (which is often the case for funds that are newly launched or small in size). The Fund's spread may also be impacted by the liquidity of the underlying securities held by the Fund, particularly for newly launched or smaller funds or in instances of significant volatility of the underlying securities.
The Board has adopted a policy of not monitoring for frequent purchases and redemptions of Fund shares (“frequent trading”) that appear to attempt to take advantage of a potential arbitrage opportunity presented by a lag between a change in the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities after the close of the primary markets for the Fund’s portfolio securities and the reflection of that change in the Fund’s NAV (“market timing”), because the Fund sells and redeems its shares directly through transactions that are in-kind and/or for cash, subject to the conditions described below under Creations and Redemptions. The Board has not adopted a policy of
20

 


monitoring for other frequent trading activity because shares of the Fund are listed for trading on a national securities exchange.
The national securities exchange on which the Fund's shares are listed is open for trading Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and the following holidays (or the days on which they are observed): New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The Fund’s primary listing exchange is NYSE Arca.
Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by investment companies in the securities of other investment companies. Registered investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in SEC rules or in an SEC exemptive order issued to the Trust. In order for a registered investment company to invest in shares of the Fund beyond the limitations of Section 12(d)(1) pursuant to the exemptive relief obtained by the Trust, the registered investment company must enter into an agreement with the Trust.
Book Entry. Shares of the Fund are held in book-entry form, which means that no stock certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of, and holds legal title to, all outstanding shares of the Fund.
Investors owning shares of the Fund are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for shares of the Fund. DTC participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of stock certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other securities that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.
Share Prices. The trading prices of the Fund’s shares in the secondary market generally differ from the Fund’s daily NAV and are affected by market forces such as the supply of and demand for ETF shares and underlying securities held by the Fund, economic conditions and other factors. Information regarding the intraday value of shares of the Fund, also known as the “indicative optimized portfolio value” (“IOPV”), is disseminated every 15 seconds throughout each trading day by the national securities exchange on which the Fund's shares are listed or by market data vendors or other information providers. The IOPV is based on the current market value of the securities or other assets and/or cash required to be deposited in exchange for a Creation Unit. The IOPV does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities or other assets held by the Fund at a particular point in time or the best possible valuation of the current portfolio. Therefore, the IOPV should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the Fund's NAV, which is computed only once a day. The IOPV is generally determined by using both current market quotations and price quotations obtained from broker-dealers and other market intermediaries that may trade in the portfolio securities or other assets held by the Fund. The quotations of certain Fund
21

 


holdings may not be updated during U.S. trading hours if such holdings do not trade in the U.S. The Fund is not involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the IOPV and makes no representation or warranty as to its accuracy.
Determination of Net Asset Value. The NAV of the Fund normally is determined once daily Monday through Friday, generally as of the regularly scheduled close of business of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each day that the NYSE is open for trading, based on prices at the time of closing, provided that (i) any Fund assets or liabilities denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar are translated into U.S. dollars at the prevailing market rates on the date of valuation as quoted by one or more data service providers and (ii) U.S. fixed-income assets may be valued as of the announced closing time for trading in fixed-income instruments in a particular market or exchange. The NAV of the Fund is calculated by dividing the value of the net assets of the Fund (i.e., the value of its total assets less total liabilities) by the total number of outstanding shares of the Fund, generally rounded to the nearest cent.
The value of the securities and other assets and liabilities held by the Fund are determined pursuant to valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board.
The Fund values fixed-income portfolio securities using last available bid prices or current market quotations provided by dealers or prices (including evaluated prices) supplied by the Fund's approved independent third-party pricing services, each in accordance with valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board. Pricing services may use matrix pricing or valuation models that utilize certain inputs and assumptions to derive values. Pricing services generally value fixed-income securities assuming orderly transactions of an institutional round lot size, but the Fund may hold or transact in such securities in smaller odd lot sizes. Odd lots often trade at lower prices than institutional round lots. An amortized cost method of valuation may be used with respect to debt obligations with sixty days or less remaining to maturity unless BFA determines in good faith that such method does not represent fair value.
Generally, trading in non-U.S. securities, U.S. government securities, money market instruments and certain fixed-income securities is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the close of business on the NYSE. The values of such securities used in computing the NAV of the Fund are determined as of such times.
When market quotations are not readily available or are believed by BFA to be unreliable, the Fund’s investments are valued at fair value. Fair value determinations are made by BFA in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Board. BFA may conclude that a market quotation is not readily available or is unreliable if a security or other asset or liability does not have a price source due to its lack of liquidity or other reasons, if a market quotation differs significantly from recent price quotations or otherwise no longer appears to reflect fair value, where the security or other asset or liability is thinly traded, when there is a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation, or if the trading market on which a security is listed is suspended or closed and no appropriate alternative trading market is available. A “significant event” is deemed to occur if BFA determines, in its reasonable business judgment prior to or at the time of pricing the Fund’s assets or liabilities, that the event is likely to cause a material change to the closing market price of one or more assets
22

 


or liabilities held by the Fund. Non-U.S. securities whose values are affected by volatility that occurs in the local markets or in related or highly correlated assets (e.g., American Depositary Receipts, Global Depositary Receipts or substantially identical ETFs) on a trading day after the close of non-U.S. securities markets may be fair valued.
Fair value represents a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. The fair value of an asset or liability held by the Fund is the amount the Fund might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset or the cost to extinguish that liability in an arm’s-length transaction. Valuing the Fund’s investments using fair value pricing will result in prices that may differ from current market valuations and that may not be the prices at which those investments could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used. Use of fair value prices and certain current market valuations could result in a difference between the prices used to calculate the Fund’s NAV and the prices used by the Underlying Index, which, in turn, could result in a difference between the Fund’s performance and the performance of the Underlying Index.
Dividends and Distributions
General Policies. Dividends from net investment income, if any, generally are declared and paid at least once a year by the Fund. Distributions of net realized securities gains, if any, generally are declared and paid once a year, but the Trust may make distributions on a more frequent basis for the Fund. The Trust reserves the right to declare special distributions if, in its reasonable discretion, such action is necessary or advisable to preserve its status as a regulated investment company or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income or realized gains.
Dividends and other distributions on shares of the Fund are distributed on a pro rata basis to beneficial owners of such shares. Dividend payments are made through DTC participants and indirect participants to beneficial owners then of record with proceeds received from the Fund.
Dividend Reinvestment Service. No dividend reinvestment service is provided by the Trust. Broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry Dividend Reinvestment Service for use by beneficial owners of the Fund for reinvestment of their dividend distributions. Beneficial owners should contact their broker to determine the availability and costs of the service and the details of participation therein. Brokers may require beneficial owners to adhere to specific procedures and timetables. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and realized gains will be automatically reinvested in additional whole shares of the Fund purchased in the secondary market.
Taxes. As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in shares of the Fund will be taxed. The tax information in this Prospectus is provided as general information, based on current law. There is no guarantee that shares of the Fund will receive certain regulatory or accounting treatment. You should consult your own tax professional about the tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund.
Unless your investment in Fund shares is made through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement account, such as an IRA, in which case your distributions generally
23

 


will be taxable when withdrawn, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when the Fund makes distributions or you sell Fund shares.
Taxes on Distributions. Distributions from the Fund’s net investment income, including distributions of income from securities lending and distributions out of the Fund's net short-term capital gains, if any, are taxable to you as ordinary income. The Fund's distributions of net long-term capital gains, if any, in excess of net short-term capital losses are taxable as long-term capital gains, regardless of how long you have held the shares. Long-term capital gains are eligible for taxation at a maximum rate of 15% or 20% for non-corporate shareholders, depending on whether their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. Distributions from the Fund are subject to a 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax on “net investment income,” for individuals with incomes exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 if married and filing jointly) and of estates and trusts. In general, your distributions are subject to U.S. federal income tax for the year when they are paid. Certain distributions paid in January, however, may be treated as paid on December 31 of the prior year.
You may lose the ability to use foreign tax credits passed through by the Fund if your Fund shares are loaned out pursuant to a securities lending agreement.
If the Fund's distributions exceed current and accumulated earnings and profits, all or a portion of the distributions made in the taxable year may be recharacterized as a return of capital to shareholders. Distributions in excess of the Fund’s minimum distribution requirements, but not in excess of the Fund’s earnings and profits, will be taxable to shareholders and will not constitute nontaxable returns of capital. A return of capital distribution generally will not be taxable but will reduce the shareholder's cost basis and will result in a higher capital gain or lower capital loss when those shares on which the distribution was received are sold. Once a shareholder's cost basis is reduced to zero, further distributions will be treated as capital gain, if the shareholder holds shares of the Fund as capital assets.
Dividends, interest and capital gains earned by the Fund with respect to securities issued by non-U.S. issuers may give rise to withholding, capital gains and other taxes imposed by non-U.S. countries. Tax conventions between certain countries and the U.S. may reduce or eliminate such taxes. If more than 50% of the total assets of the Fund at the close of a year consists of non-U.S. stocks or securities (generally, for this purpose, depositary receipts, no matter where traded, of non-U.S. companies are treated as “non-U.S.”), generally the Fund may “pass through” to you certain non-U.S. income taxes (including withholding taxes) paid by the Fund. This means that you would be considered to have received as an additional dividend your share of such non-U.S. taxes, but you may be entitled to either a corresponding tax deduction in calculating your taxable income, or, subject to certain limitations, a credit in calculating your U.S. federal income tax.
For purposes of foreign tax credits for U.S. shareholders of the Fund, foreign capital gains taxes may not produce associated foreign source income, limiting the availability of such credits for U.S. persons.
If you are neither a resident nor a citizen of the U.S. or if you are a non-U.S. entity (other than a pass-through entity to the extent owned by U.S. persons), the Fund’s
24

 


ordinary income dividends (which include distributions of net short-term capital gains) will generally be subject to a 30% U.S. federal withholding tax, unless a lower treaty rate applies provided that withholding tax will generally not apply to any gain or income realized by a non-U.S. shareholder in respect of any distributions of long-term capital gains or upon the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund.
Separately, a 30% withholding tax is currently imposed on U.S.-source dividends, interest and other income items paid to (i) foreign financial institutions, including non-U.S. investment funds, unless they agree to collect and disclose to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. account holders and (ii) certain other foreign entities, unless they certify certain information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. owners. To avoid withholding, foreign financial institutions will need to (i) enter into agreements with the IRS that state that they will provide the IRS information, including the names, addresses and taxpayer identification numbers of direct and indirect U.S. account holders; comply with due diligence procedures with respect to the identification of U.S. accounts; report to the IRS certain information with respect to U.S. accounts maintained, agree to withhold tax on certain payments made to non-compliant foreign financial institutions or to account holders who fail to provide the required information; and determine certain other information concerning their account holders, or (ii) in the event that an applicable intergovernmental agreement and implementing legislation are adopted, provide local revenue authorities with similar account holder information. Other foreign entities may need to report the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of each substantial U.S. owner or provide certifications of no substantial U.S. ownership, unless certain exceptions apply.
If you are a resident or a citizen of the U.S., by law, backup withholding at a 24% rate will apply to your distributions and proceeds if you have not provided a taxpayer identification number or social security number and made other required certifications.
Taxes When Shares are Sold. Currently, any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares is generally treated as a long-term gain or loss if the shares have been held for more than one year. Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares held for one year or less is generally treated as short-term gain or loss, except that any capital loss on the sale of shares held for six months or less is treated as long-term capital loss to the extent that capital gain dividends were paid with respect to such shares. Any such capital gains, including from sales of Fund shares or from capital gain dividends, are included in “net investment income” for purposes of the 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax mentioned above.
The foregoing discussion summarizes some of the consequences under current U.S. federal tax law of an investment in the Fund. It is not a substitute for personal tax advice. You may also be subject to state and local taxation on Fund distributions and sales of shares. Consult your personal tax advisor about the potential tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund under all applicable tax laws.
Creations and Redemptions. Prior to trading in the secondary market, shares of the Fund are “created” at NAV by market makers, large investors and institutions only in block-size Creation Units of 100,000 shares or multiples thereof. Each “creator” or
25

 


authorized participant (an “Authorized Participant”) has entered into an agreement with the Fund's distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor”), an affiliate of BFA.
A creation transaction, which is subject to acceptance by the Distributor and the Fund, generally takes place when an Authorized Participant deposits into the Fund a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) and a specified amount of cash approximating the holdings of the Fund in exchange for a specified number of Creation Units. To the extent practicable, the composition of such portfolio generally corresponds pro rata to the holdings of the Fund. However, creation baskets will generally correspond to the price and yield performance of the Fund. The Fund may, in certain circumstances, offer Creation Units partially or solely for cash.
Similarly, shares can be redeemed only in Creation Units, generally for a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) held by the Fund and a specified amount of cash. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, shares are not redeemable by the Fund.
The prices at which creations and redemptions occur are based on the next calculation of NAV after a creation or redemption order is received in an acceptable form under the authorized participant agreement.
Only an Authorized Participant may create or redeem Creation Units with the Fund. Authorized Participants may create or redeem Creation Units for their own accounts or for customers, including, without limitation, affiliates of the Fund.
In the event of a system failure or other interruption, including disruptions at market makers or Authorized Participants, orders to purchase or redeem Creation Units either may not be executed according to the Fund's instructions or may not be executed at all, or the Fund may not be able to place or change orders.
To the extent the Fund engages in in-kind transactions, the Fund intends to comply with the U.S. federal securities laws in accepting securities for deposit and satisfying redemptions with redemption securities by, among other means, assuring that any securities accepted for deposit and any securities used to satisfy redemption requests will be sold in transactions that would be exempt from registration under the 1933 Act. Further, an Authorized Participant that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” as such term is defined in Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, will not be able to receive restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A.
Creations and redemptions must be made through a firm that is either a member of the Continuous Net Settlement System of the National Securities Clearing Corporation or a DTC participant that has executed an agreement with the Distributor with respect to creations and redemptions of Creation Unit aggregations. Information about the procedures regarding creation and redemption of Creation Units (including the cut-off times for receipt of creation and redemption orders) is included in the Fund's SAI.
Because new shares may be created and issued on an ongoing basis, at any point during the life of the Fund a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may be occurring. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner that could render them statutory underwriters subject to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the 1933 Act. Any determination of whether one is an underwriter must take into account all the relevant facts and circumstances of each particular case.
26

 


Broker-dealers should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted to ordinary secondary transactions), and thus dealing with shares that are part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the 1933 Act, would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the 1933 Act. For delivery of prospectuses to exchange members, the prospectus delivery mechanism of Rule 153 under the 1933 Act is available only with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange.
Costs Associated with Creations and Redemptions. Authorized Participants are charged standard creation and redemption transaction fees to offset transfer and other transaction costs associated with the issuance and redemption of Creation Units. The standard creation and redemption transaction fees are set forth in the table below. The standard creation transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant creates a Creation Unit, and is the same regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased by the Authorized Participant on the applicable business day. Similarly, the standard redemption transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant redeems a Creation Unit, and is the same regardless of the number of Creation Units redeemed by the Authorized Participant on the applicable business day. Creations and redemptions for cash (when cash creations and redemptions (in whole or in part) are available or specified) are also subject to an additional charge (up to the maximum amounts shown in the table below). This charge is intended to compensate for brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, price movement and other costs and expenses related to cash transactions (which may, in certain instances, be based on a good faith estimate of transaction costs). Investors who use the services of a broker or other financial intermediary to acquire or dispose of Fund shares may pay fees for such services.
The following table shows, as of July 25, 2019, the approximate value of one Creation Unit, standard fees and maximum additional charges for creations and redemptions (as described above and in the Fund's SAI):
Approximate
Value of a
Creation Unit
  Creation
Unit Size
  Standard
Creation/
Redemption
Transaction Fee
  Maximum Additional
Charge for
Creations*
  Maximum Additional
Charge for
Redemptions*
$2,513,000   100,000   $625   3.0%   2.0%

* As a percentage of the net asset value per Creation Unit, inclusive, in the case of redemptions, of the standard redemption transaction fee.
Householding. Householding is an option available to certain Fund investors. Householding is a method of delivery, based on the preference of the individual investor, in which a single copy of certain shareholder documents can be delivered to investors who share the same address, even if their accounts are registered under different names. Please contact your broker-dealer if you are interested in enrolling in householding and receiving a single copy of prospectuses and other shareholder documents, or if you are currently enrolled in householding and wish to change your householding status.
27

 


Distribution
The Distributor or its agent distributes Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. The Distributor does not maintain a secondary market in shares of the Fund. The Distributor has no role in determining the policies of the Fund or the securities that are purchased or sold by the Fund. The Distributor’s principal address is 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.
BFA or its affiliates make payments to broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks or other intermediaries (together, “intermediaries”) related to marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems, data provision services, or their making shares of the Fund and certain other iShares funds available to their customers generally and in certain investment programs. Such payments, which may be significant to the intermediary, are not made by the Fund. Rather, such payments are made by BFA or its affiliates from their own resources, which come directly or indirectly in part from fees paid by the iShares funds complex. Payments of this type are sometimes referred to as revenue-sharing payments. A financial intermediary may make decisions about which investment options it recommends or makes available, or the level of services provided, to its customers based on the payments or other financial incentives it is eligible to receive. Therefore, such payments or other financial incentives offered or made to an intermediary create conflicts of interest between the intermediary and its customers and may cause the intermediary to recommend the Fund or other iShares funds over another investment. More information regarding these payments is contained in the Fund's SAI. Please contact your salesperson or other investment professional for more information regarding any such payments his or her firm may receive from BFA or its affiliates.
28

 


Financial Highlights
The financial highlights table is intended to help investors understand the Fund’s financial performance since inception. Certain information reflects financial results for a single share of the Fund. The total returns in the table represent the rate that an investor would have earned (or lost) on an investment in the Fund, assuming reinvestment of all dividends and distributions. This information has been audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, whose report is included, along with the Fund's financial statements, in the Fund's Annual Report (available upon request).
Financial Highlights
(For a share outstanding throughout each period)
  iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF
  Year Ended
10/31/18
  Year Ended
10/31/17
  Year Ended
10/31/16
  Period From
03/10/15(a)
to 10/31/15 (b)
Net asset value, beginning of period $ 25.13   $ 25.31   $ 24.43   $ 24.75
Net investment income(c) 0.70   0.70   0.74   0.46
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)(d) (0.99)   (0.20)   0.86   (0.39)
Net increase (decrease) from investment operations (0.29)   0.50   1.60   0.07
Distributions (e)              
From net investment income (0.67)   (0.68)   (0.72)   (0.39)
From net realized gain (0.00) (f)      
Total distributions (0.67)   (0.68)   (0.72)   (0.39)
Net asset value, end of period $ 24.17   $ 25.13   $ 25.31   $ 24.43
Total Return              
Based on net asset value (1.14)%   2.01%   6.66%   0.30% (g)
Ratios to Average Net Assets              
Total expenses 0.10%   0.10%   0.10%   0.10% (h)
Total expenses after fees waived 0.10%   0.10%   0.10%   0.10% (h)
Net investment income 2.85%   2.78%   2.95%   2.89% (h)
Supplemental Data              
Net assets, end of period (000) $535,445   $351,807   $137,958   $13,437
Portfolio turnover rate(i) 2%   7%   10%   6% (g)

(a) Commencement of operations.
(b) Per share amounts reflect a four-for-one stock split effective after the close of trading on May 20, 2015.
(c) Based on average shares outstanding.
(d) The amounts reported for a share outstanding may not accord with the change in aggregate gains and losses in securities for the fiscal period due to the timing of capital share transactions in relation to the fluctuating market values of the Fund’s underlying securities.
(e) Distributions for annual periods determined in accordance with U.S. federal income tax regulations.
(f) Rounds to less than $0.01.
(g) Not annualized.
(h) Annualized.
(i) Portfolio turnover rate excludes in-kind transactions.
29


Index Provider
The Underlying Index is maintained by Bloomberg. Bloomberg is not affiliated with the Trust, BFA, State Street, the Distributor or any of their respective affiliates.
BFA or its affiliates have entered into a license agreement with the Index Provider to use the Underlying Index.
Disclaimers
BLOOMBERG® is a trademark and service mark of Bloomberg Finance L.P. BARCLAYS® is a trademark and service mark of Barclays Bank PLC, used under license. Bloomberg Finance L.P. and its affiliates, including Bloomberg Index Services Limited (“BISL”) (collectively, “Bloomberg”), or Bloomberg’s licensors own all proprietary rights in the Underlying Index.
Neither Barclays Bank PLC, Barclays Capital Inc., nor any affiliate (collectively, “Barclays”) nor Bloomberg is the issuer or producer of the Fund and neither Bloomberg nor Barclays has any responsibilities, obligations or duties to investors in the Fund. The Underlying Index is licensed for use by BFA or its affiliates (the “Issuer”) as the issuer of the Fund. The only relationship of Bloomberg and Barclays with the Issuer in respect of the Underlying Index is the licensing of the Underlying Index, which is determined, composed and calculated by BISL, or any successor thereto, without regard to the Issuer or the Fund or the owners of the Fund.
Additionally, BFA or its affiliates of the Fund may for itself execute transaction(s) with Barclays in or relating to the Underlying Index in connection with the Fund. Investors acquire the Fund from BFA or its affiliates and investors neither acquire any interest in the Underlying Index nor enter into any relationship of any kind whatsoever with Bloomberg or Barclays upon making an investment in the Fund. The Fund is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Bloomberg or Barclays. Neither Bloomberg nor Barclays makes any representation or warranty, express or implied, regarding the advisability of investing in the Fund or the advisability of investing in securities generally or the ability of the Underlying Index to track corresponding or relative market performance. Neither Bloomberg nor Barclays has passed on the legality or suitability of the Fund with respect to any person or entity. Neither Bloomberg nor Barclays is responsible for or has participated in the determination of the timing of, prices at, or quantities of the Fund to be issued. Neither Bloomberg nor Barclays has any obligation to take the needs of the Issuer or the owners of the Fund or any other third party into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Underlying Index. Neither Bloomberg nor Barclays has any obligation or liability in connection with administration, marketing or trading of the Fund.
The licensing agreement between Bloomberg and Barclays is solely for the benefit of Bloomberg and Barclays and not for the benefit of the owners of the Fund, investors or other third parties. In addition, the licensing agreement
30

 


between BFA and Bloomberg is solely for the benefit of BFA and Bloomberg and not for the benefit of the owners of the Fund, investors or other third parties.
NEITHER BLOOMBERG NOR BARCLAYS SHALL HAVE ANY LIABILITY TO THE ISSUER, INVESTORS OR OTHER THIRD PARTIES FOR THE QUALITY, ACCURACY AND/OR COMPLETENESS OF THE UNDERLYING INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN OR FOR INTERRUPTIONS IN THE DELIVERY OF THE UNDERLYING INDEX. NEITHER BLOOMBERG NOR BARCLAYS MAKES ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY THE ISSUER, THE INVESTORS OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF THE UNDERLYING INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. NEITHER BLOOMBERG NOR BARCLAYS MAKES ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND EACH HEREBY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE WITH RESPECT TO THE UNDERLYING INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. BLOOMBERG RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CHANGE THE METHODS OF CALCULATION OR PUBLICATION, OR TO CEASE THE CALCULATION OR PUBLICATION OF THE UNDERLYING INDEX, AND NEITHER BLOOMBERG NOR BARCLAYS SHALL BE LIABLE FOR ANY MISCALCULATION OF OR ANY INCORRECT, DELAYED OR INTERRUPTED PUBLICATION WITH RESPECT TO ANY OF THE UNDERLYING INDEXES. NEITHER BLOOMBERG NOR BARCLAYS SHALL BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY SPECIAL, INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, OR ANY LOST PROFITS, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBLITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, RESULTING FROM THE USE OF THE UNDERLYING INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN OR WITH RESPECT TO THE FUND.
None of the information supplied by Bloomberg or Barclays and used in this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the prior written permission of both Bloomberg and Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays Bank PLC. Barclays Bank PLC is registered in England No. 1026167, registered office 1 Churchill Place London E14 5HP.
Shares of the Fund are not sponsored, endorsed or promoted by NYSE Arca. NYSE Arca makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the shares of the Fund or any member of the public regarding the ability of the Fund to track the total return performance of the Underlying Index or the ability of the Underlying Index to track stock market performance. NYSE Arca is not responsible for, nor has it participated in, the determination of the compilation or the calculation of the Underlying Index, nor in the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of shares of the Fund to be issued, nor in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the shares are redeemable. NYSE Arca has no obligation or liability to owners of the shares of the Fund in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the shares of the Fund.
NYSE Arca does not guarantee the accuracy and/or the completeness of the Underlying Index or any data included therein. NYSE Arca makes no warranty, express or implied, as to results to be obtained by the Trust on behalf of the
31

 


Fund as licensee, licensee’s customers and counterparties, owners of the shares of the Fund, or any other person or entity from the use of the Underlying Index or any data included therein in connection with the rights licensed as described herein or for any other use.
NYSE Arca makes no express or implied warranties and hereby expressly disclaims all warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose with respect to the Underlying Index or any data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall NYSE Arca have any liability for any direct, indirect, special, punitive, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits) even if notified of the possibility of such damages.
The past performance of the Underlying Index is not a guide to future performance. BFA and its affiliates do not guarantee the accuracy or the completeness of the Underlying Index or any data included therein and BFA and its affiliates shall have no liability for any errors, omissions or interruptions therein. BFA and its affiliates make no warranty, express or implied, to the owners of shares of the Fund or to any other person or entity, as to results to be obtained by the Fund from the use of the Underlying Index or any data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall BFA or its affiliates have any liability for any special, punitive, direct, indirect or consequential damages (including lost profits), even if notified of the possibility of such damages.
32

 


Supplemental Information
I. Premium/Discount Information
The table that follows presents information about the differences between the daily market price on secondary markets for shares of the Fund and the Fund’s NAV. NAV is the price at which the Fund issues and redeems shares. It is calculated in accordance with the standard formula for valuing mutual fund shares. The price used to calculate market returns (“Market Price”) of the Fund generally is determined using the midpoint between the highest bid and the lowest ask on the primary securities exchange on which shares of the Fund are listed for trading, as of the time that the Fund’s NAV is calculated. The Fund’s Market Price may be at, above or below its NAV. The NAV of the Fund will fluctuate with changes in the value of its portfolio holdings. The Market Price of the Fund will fluctuate in accordance with changes in its NAV, as well as market supply and demand.
Premiums or discounts are the differences (expressed as a percentage) between the NAV and Market Price of the Fund on a given day, generally at the time the NAV is calculated. A premium is the amount that the Fund is trading above the reported NAV, expressed as a percentage of the NAV. A discount is the amount that the Fund is trading below the reported NAV, expressed as a percentage of the NAV.
The following information shows the frequency of distributions of premiums and discounts for the Fund for each full calendar quarter of 2018.
Each line in the table shows the number of trading days in which the Fund traded within the premium/discount range indicated. Premium/discount ranges with no trading days are omitted. The number of trading days in each premium/discount range is also shown as a percentage of the total number of trading days in the period covered by the table. All data presented here represents past performance, which cannot be used to predict future results.
Premium/Discount Range   Number of Days   Percentage of Total Days
Greater than 0.0% and Less than 0.5%   247   98.41%
Less than 0.0% and Greater than -0.5%   4   1.59
    251   100.00%
33

 


II. Total Return Information
The table that follows presents information about the total returns of the Fund and the Underlying Index as of the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
“Average Annual Total Returns” represents the average annual change in value of an investment over the periods indicated. “Cumulative Total Returns” represents the total change in value of an investment over the periods indicated.
The Fund’s NAV is the value of one share of the Fund as calculated in accordance with the standard formula for valuing mutual fund shares. The NAV return is based on the NAV of the Fund and the market return is based on the Market Price of the Fund. Market Price generally is determined by using the midpoint between the highest bid and the lowest ask on the primary stock exchange on which shares of the Fund are listed for trading, as of the time that the Fund's NAV is calculated. Since shares of the Fund did not trade in the secondary market until after the Fund's inception, for the period from inception to the first day of secondary market trading in shares of the Fund, the NAV of the Fund is used as a proxy for the Market Price to calculate market returns. Market and NAV returns assume that dividends and capital gain distributions have been reinvested in the Fund at Market Price and NAV, respectively.
An index is a financial calculation, based on a grouping of financial instruments, that is not an investment product and that tracks a specified financial market or sector. Unlike the Fund, the Underlying Index does not actually hold a portfolio of securities and therefore does not incur the expenses incurred by the Fund. These expenses negatively impact the performance of the Fund. Also, market returns do not include brokerage commissions and other charges that may be payable on secondary market transactions. If brokerage commissions were included, market returns would be lower. The returns shown in the following table do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of Fund shares. The investment return and principal value of shares of the Fund will vary with changes in market conditions. Shares of the Fund may be worth more or less than their original cost when they are redeemed or sold in the market. The Fund’s past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Performance as of October 31, 2018
  Average Annual Total Returns   Cumulative Total Returns
  1 Year Since
Inception
  1 Year Since
Inception
Fund NAV (1.14)% 2.10%   (1.14)% 7.88%
Fund Market (1.26) 2.13   (1.26) 8.01
Index (1.05) 2.22   (1.05) 8.34
  
  Total returns for the period since inception are calculated from the inception date of the Fund (3/10/15). The first day of secondary market trading in shares of the Fund was 3/12/15.
34

 



 


Want to know more?
iShares.com     |    1-800-474-2737
Copies of the Prospectus, SAI and recent shareholder reports can be found on our website at www.iShares.com. For more information about the Fund, you may request a copy of the SAI. The SAI provides detailed information about the Fund and is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus. This means that the SAI, for legal purposes, is a part of this Prospectus.
Additional information about the Fund's investments is available in the Fund's Annual and Semi-Annual Reports to shareholders. In the Fund's Annual Report, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the Fund's performance during the last fiscal year.
If you have any questions about the Trust or shares of the Fund or you wish to obtain the SAI, Semi-Annual or Annual Report free of charge, please:
Call: 1-800-iShares or 1-800-474-2737 (toll free)
Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Eastern time)
Email: iSharesETFs@blackrock.com
Write: c/o BlackRock Investments, LLC
1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540
Reports and other information about the Fund are available on the EDGAR database on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov, and copies of this information may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov.
No person is authorized to give any information or to make any representations about the Fund and its shares not contained in this Prospectus and you should not rely on any other information. Read and keep this Prospectus for future reference.
©2019 BlackRock, Inc. All rights reserved. iSHARES®, iBONDS® and BLACKROCK® are registered trademarks of BFA and its affiliates. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
Investment Company Act File No.: 811-09729
IS-P-IBDN-0819


iShares® Trust
Statement of Additional Information
Dated March 1, 2019
(as revised July 25, 2019)
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the current prospectuses (each, a “Prospectus” and collectively, the “Prospectuses”) for the following series (each, a “Fund” and collectively, the “Funds”) of iShares Trust (the “Trust”):
Fund   Ticker   Listing Exchange
iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corporate ETF1   IBDK   NYSE Arca
iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF2   IBDL   NYSE Arca
iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF3   IBDM   NYSE Arca
iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF4   IBDN   NYSE Arca
iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF5   IBDO   NYSE Arca
iShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF6   IBDP   NYSE Arca
iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF7   IBDQ   NYSE Arca
iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF8   IBDR   NYSE Arca
iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF9   IBDS   NYSE Arca
iShares iBonds Dec 2028 Term Corporate ETF10   IBDT   NYSE Arca
iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF11   IBDC   NYSE Arca
iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF12   IBDD   NYSE Arca

1 The iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corporate ETF.
2 The iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF.
3 The iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF.
4 The iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF.
5 The iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF.
6 The iShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF.
7 The iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF.
8 The iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF.
9 The iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF.
10 The iShares iBonds Dec 2028 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2028 Term Corporate ETF.
11  
The iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF.
12
The iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF.
Each Fund invests its assets in individual securities and/or in other iShares funds that, in turn, invest in bonds and/or short-term instruments based on an index (each, an “Underlying Fund” and collectively, the “Underlying Funds”). BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA” or the “Investment Adviser”), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc., serves as investment adviser to the Funds and also serves as investment adviser to each of the Underlying Funds.
The Prospectuses for the above-listed Funds are dated March 1, 2019, as amended and supplemented from time to time. Capitalized terms used herein that are not defined have the same meaning as in the applicable Prospectus, unless otherwise noted. The Financial Statements and Notes contained in the applicable Annual Report and Semi-Annual Report of the Trust for the Funds are incorporated by reference into and are deemed to be part of this SAI. A copy of each Fund's Prospectus, Annual Report and Semi-Annual Report may be obtained without charge by writing to the Trust's distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor” or “BRIL”), 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540, calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or visiting www.iShares.com. Each Fund's Prospectus is incorporated by reference into this SAI.
References to the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act” or the “1940 Act”), or other applicable law, will include any rules promulgated thereunder and any guidance, interpretations or modifications by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, including court interpretations, and exemptive, no action or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

 


iShares®, iBonds® and BlackRock® are registered trademarks of BFA and its affiliates.

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS
  Page
General Description of the Trust and its Funds 1
Exchange Listing and Trading 2
Investment Strategies and Risks 3
Bonds 4
Borrowing 4
Corporate Bonds 4
Diversification Status 5
Investments in Underlying Funds and Other Investment Companies 5
Lending Portfolio Securities 5
Liquidity Risk Management 6
Non-U.S. Securities 6
Privately-Issued Securities 6
Ratings 6
Regulation Regarding Derivatives 7
Repurchase Agreements 7
Securities of Investment Companies 8
Short-Term Instruments and Temporary Investments 8
U.S.-Registered and Restricted Securities of Non-U.S. Issuers 8
Future Developments 9
General Considerations and Risks 9
Borrowing Risk 9
Call Risk 9
Custody Risk 9
Extension Risk 9
Interest Rate Risk 9
Investment in Underlying Funds Risk 10
Issuer Insolvency Risk 10
Operational Risk 11
Risk of Investing in Non-U.S. Debt Securities 11
Valuation Risk 11
Risk of Investing in Asia 11
Risk of Investing in Australasia 12
Risk of Investing in Central and South America 12
Risk of Investing in Developed Countries 13
Risk of Investing in Emerging Markets 13
Risk of Investing in Europe 15
i

 


  Page
Risk of Investing in North America 16
Risk of Investing in the Capital Goods Industry 16
Risk of Investing in the Communication Services Sector 16
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Cyclical Industry 16
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Staples Sector 16
Risk of Investing in the Energy Sector 17
Risk of Investing in the Financials Sector 17
Risk of Investing in the Industrials Sector 18
Risk of Investing in the Insurance Industry 18
Risk of Investing in the Real Estate Industry 18
Risk of Investing in the Technology Sector 20
Risk of Investing in the Transportation Infrastructure Industry 20
Risk of Investing in the Utilities Sector 20
Proxy Voting Policy 21
Portfolio Holdings Information 21
Construction and Maintenance of the Underlying Index 22
The Bloomberg Barclays Indexes 23
Bloomberg Barclays December 2019 Maturity Corporate Index 23
Bloomberg Barclays December 2020 Maturity Corporate Index 23
Bloomberg Barclays December 2021 Maturity Corporate Index 24
Bloomberg Barclays December 2022 Maturity Corporate Index 25
Bloomberg Barclays December 2023 Maturity Corporate Index 25
Bloomberg Barclays December 2024 Maturity Corporate Index 26
Bloomberg Barclays December 2025 Maturity Corporate Index 27
Bloomberg Barclays December 2026 Maturity Corporate Index 27
Bloomberg Barclays December 2027 Maturity Corporate Index 28
Bloomberg Barclays December 2028 Maturity Corporate Index 29
Bloomberg Barclays 2020 Maturity Corporate Index 29
Bloomberg Barclays 2023 Maturity Corporate Index 30
Investment Policies 31
Fundamental Investment Policies 31
Non-Fundamental Investment Policies 32
Continuous Offering 33
Management 33
Trustees and Officers 33
Committees of the Board of Trustees 40
Remuneration of Trustees and Advisory Board Members 44
ii

 


  Page
Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities 46
Potential Conflicts of Interest 52
Legal Proceedings 60
Investment Advisory, Administrative and Distribution Services 60
Investment Adviser 60
Portfolio Managers 62
Codes of Ethics 64
Anti-Money Laundering Requirements 64
Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent 64
Distributor 65
Securities Lending 65
Payments by BFA and its Affiliates 70
Determination of Net Asset Value 71
Brokerage Transactions 74
Additional Information Concerning the Trust 79
Shares 79
DTC as Securities Depository for Shares of the Funds 80
Distribution of Shares 81
Creation and Redemption of Creation Units 81
General 81
Fund Deposit 82
Cash Purchase Method 83
Procedures for Creation of Creation Units 83
Role of the Authorized Participant 83
Placement of Creation Orders 83
Purchase Orders 84
Timing of Submission of Purchase Orders 84
Acceptance of Orders for Creation Units 84
Issuance of a Creation Unit 85
Costs Associated with Creation Transactions 85
Redemption of Creation Units 86
Cash Redemption Method 87
Costs Associated with Redemption Transactions 87
Placement of Redemption Orders 87
Taxation on Creations and Redemptions of Creation Units 89
Taxes 89
Regulated Investment Company Qualifications 89
iii

 



 


General Description of the Trust and its Funds
The Trust currently consists of more than 270 investment series or portfolios. The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on December 16, 1999 and is authorized to have multiple series or portfolios. The Trust is an open-end management investment company registered with the SEC under the 1940 Act. The offering of the Trust’s shares is registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). This SAI relates to the following Funds:
iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Dec 2028 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF
Each of the iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF and iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF is managed by BFA, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc., and generally seeks to meet its investment objective by investing in the securities of one or more underlying funds that themselves seek investment results corresponding to their own underlying benchmark indexes and in individual securities that satisfy the criteria of a particular underlying index identified in each Fund's Prospectus (each, an “Underlying Index”).
Each of the iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF and iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF is managed by BFA, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc., and generally seeks to meet its investment objective by investing in individual securities that satisfy the criteria of a particular Underlying Index identified in the Fund's Prospectus either directly or through holding shares of one or more Underlying Funds. Each Fund may also periodically invest in the securities of one or more Underlying Funds that themselves seek investment results corresponding to their own underlying benchmark indexes. Both of the iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF and iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF are term funds that will terminate on or about March 31 of the relevant year identified in their Prospectuses, at which time they will distribute their remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation.
Each of the iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF and iShares iBonds Dec 2028 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15 of the relevant year identified in its Prospectus, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation.
Each Fund offers and issues shares at their net asset value per share (“NAV”) only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (each, a “Creation Unit”), generally in exchange for a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) included in its Underlying Index (the “Deposit Securities”), together with the deposit of a specified cash payment (the “Cash Component”). Shares of each Fund are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca” or the “Listing Exchange”), a national securities exchange. Shares of each Fund are traded in the secondary
1

 


market and elsewhere at market prices that may be at, above or below the Fund's NAV. Shares are redeemable only in Creation Units, and, generally, in exchange for portfolio securities and a Cash Amount (as defined in the Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI). Creation Units typically are a specified number of shares, generally ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 shares or multiples thereof.
The Trust reserves the right to permit or require that creations and redemptions of shares are effected fully or partially in cash and reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of Deposit Securities in lieu of cash. Shares may be issued in advance of receipt of Deposit Securities, subject to various conditions, including a requirement that the Authorized Participant maintain with the Trust a cash deposit equal to at least 105% and up to 122%, which percentage BFA may change from time to time, of the market value of the omitted Deposit Securities. The Trust may use such cash deposit at any time to purchase Deposit Securities. See the Creation and Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI. Transaction fees and other costs associated with creations or redemptions that include a cash portion may be higher than the transaction fees and other costs associated with in-kind creations or redemptions. In all cases, conditions with respect to creations and redemptions of shares and fees will be limited in accordance with the requirements of SEC rules and regulations applicable to management investment companies offering redeemable securities.
Exchange Listing and Trading
A discussion of exchange listing and trading matters associated with an investment in each Fund is contained in the Shareholder Information section of each Fund's Prospectus. The discussion below supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, that section of the applicable Prospectus.
Shares of each Fund are listed for trading, and trade throughout the day, on the Listing Exchange and in other secondary markets. Shares of the Funds may also be listed on certain non-U.S. exchanges. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Listing Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of shares of any Fund will continue to be met. The Listing Exchange may, but is not required to, remove the shares of a Fund from listing if, among other things: (i) following the initial 12-month period beginning upon the commencement of trading of Fund shares, there are fewer than 50 record and/or beneficial owners of shares of the Fund for 30 or more consecutive trading days, (ii) the value of the Underlying Index on which a Fund is based is no longer calculated or available or (iii) any other event shall occur or condition shall exist that, in the opinion of the Listing Exchange, makes further dealings on the Listing Exchange inadvisable. The Listing Exchange will also remove shares of a Fund from listing and trading upon termination of the Fund or in the event a Fund does not comply with the continuous listing standards of the Listing Exchange, as described in the Fund’s Prospectus.
As in the case of other publicly-traded securities, when you buy or sell shares of a Fund through a broker, you may incur a brokerage commission determined by that broker, as well as other charges.
In order to provide additional information regarding the indicative value of shares of the Funds, the Listing Exchange or a market data vendor disseminates information every 15 seconds through the facilities of the Consolidated Tape Association, or through other widely disseminated means, an updated indicative optimized portfolio value (“IOPV”) for the Funds as calculated by an information provider or market data vendor. The Trust is not involved in or responsible for any aspect of the calculation or dissemination of the IOPV and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the IOPV.
An IOPV has a fixed-income securities component and a cash component. The fixed-income securities values included in an IOPV are the values of the Deposit Securities for a Fund. While the IOPV reflects the current value of the Deposit Securities required to be deposited in connection with the purchase of a Creation Unit, it does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities held by the Fund at a particular point in time because the current portfolio of the Fund may include securities that are not a part of the current Deposit Securities. Therefore, a Fund’s IOPV disseminated during the Listing Exchange trading hours should not be viewed as a real-time update of the Fund’s NAV, which is calculated only once a day.
The cash component included in an IOPV consists of estimated accrued interest, dividends and other income, less expenses. If applicable, each IOPV also reflects changes in currency exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the applicable currency.
The Trust reserves the right to adjust the share prices of the Funds in the future to maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits, which would have no effect on the net assets of the Funds or an investor's equity interest in the Funds.
2

 


Investment Strategies and Risks
Each of the iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF and iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF seeks to achieve its objective generally by investing in the securities of one or more underlying funds that themselves seek investment results corresponding to their own underlying benchmark indexes and in individual securities that satisfy the criteria of a particular Underlying Index. Each of the iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF and iShares iBonds Dec 2028 Term Corporate ETF is managed by BFA and generally seeks to meet its investment objective by investing in securities of its Underlying Index and may, under certain circumstances, invest in one or more Underlying Funds. Because a Fund may periodically obtain its exposure to the securities in the Underlying Index by investing in one or more Underlying Funds, shareholders should be aware that the Fund’s exposure to the types of investments discussed below may be obtained by the Fund through an investment in the Underlying Funds. Each Fund operates as an index fund and is not actively managed. Adverse performance of a security in a Fund’s portfolio will ordinarily not result in the elimination of the security from the Fund’s portfolio.
Each Fund engages in representative sampling, which is investing in a sample of securities selected by BFA to have a collective investment profile similar to that of the Fund's Underlying Index. Securities selected have aggregate investment characteristics (based on market capitalization and industry weightings), fundamental characteristics (such as yield, credit rating, maturity and duration) and liquidity measures similar to those of the Fund’s Underlying Index. A fund that uses representative sampling generally does not hold all of the securities that are in its underlying index.
Although the Funds do not seek leveraged returns, certain instruments used by the Funds may have a leveraging effect as described below.
Each of the iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF and iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF generally will invest at least 90% of its assets in the component securities (including indirect investments through the Underlying Fund) of the Underlying Index, except during the last months of the Fund’s operations, as described below, and may invest up to 10% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of money market funds advised by BFA or its affiliates (“BlackRock Cash Funds”), as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. From time to time when conditions warrant, however, the Fund may invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities (including indirect investments through the Underlying Fund) of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index.
Each of the iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF and iShares iBonds Dec 2028 Term Corporate ETF generally will invest at least 90% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index, except during the last months of the Fund’s operations, as described below, and may invest up to 10% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. From time to time when conditions warrant, however, each Fund may invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help each Fund track the Underlying Index. Each Fund seeks to track the investment results of its Underlying Index before fees and expenses of the Fund.
In the last months of each Fund's operation, as the bonds held by each Fund mature, the proceeds will not be reinvested by the Fund in bonds but instead will be held in cash and cash equivalents. By March 31 and December 15 of the relevant year, each Fund's Underlying Index is expected to consist almost entirely of cash earned in this manner. Around the same time, the Fund will wind up and terminate, and its net assets will be distributed to then-current shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation.
3

 


Bonds.  Each Fund, either directly or through its investments in one or more Underlying Funds, invests a substantial portion of its assets in U.S. dollar-denominated bonds. A bond is an interest-bearing security issued by a U.S. or non-U.S. company, or U.S. or non-U.S. governmental unit. The issuer of a bond has a contractual obligation to pay interest at a stated rate on specific dates and to repay principal (the bond’s face value) periodically or on a specified maturity date. Bonds generally are used by corporations and governments to borrow money from investors.
An issuer may have the right to redeem or “call” a bond before maturity, in which case a Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds at lower market rates. Similarly, the Funds may have to reinvest interest income or payments received when bonds mature, sometimes at lower market rates. Most bonds bear interest income at a “coupon” rate that is fixed for the life of the bond. The value of a fixed-rate bond usually rises when market interest rates fall, and falls when market interest rates rise. Accordingly, a fixed-rate bond’s yield (income as a percent of the bond’s current value) may differ from its coupon rate as its value rises or falls. When an investor purchases a fixed-rate bond at a price that is greater than its face value, the investor is purchasing the bond at a premium. Conversely, when an investor purchases a fixed-rate bond at a price that is less than its face value, the investor is purchasing the bond at a discount. Fixed-rate bonds that are purchased at a discount pay less current income than securities with comparable yields that are purchased at face value, with the result that prices for such fixed-rate securities can be more volatile than prices for such securities that are purchased at face value. Other types of bonds bear interest at an interest rate that is adjusted periodically. Interest rates on “floating rate” or “variable rate” bonds may be higher or lower than current market rates for fixed-rate bonds of comparable quality with similar final maturities. Because of their adjustable interest rates, the value of “floating rate” or “variable rate” bonds fluctuates much less in response to market interest rate movements than the value of fixed-rate bonds, but their value may decline if their interest rates do not rise as much, or as quickly, as interest rates in general. Each Fund or an Underlying Fund may treat some of these bonds as having a shorter maturity for purposes of calculating the weighted average maturity of its investment portfolio. Generally, prices of higher quality issues tend to fluctuate less with changes in market interest rates than prices of lower quality issues and prices of longer maturity issues tend to fluctuate more than prices of shorter maturity issues. Bonds may be senior or subordinated obligations. Senior obligations generally have the first claim on a corporation’s earnings and assets and, in the event of liquidation, are paid before subordinated obligations. Bonds may be unsecured (backed only by the issuer’s general creditworthiness) or secured (backed by specified collateral).
Borrowing.  Each Fund may borrow for temporary or emergency purposes, including to meet payments due from redemptions or to facilitate the settlement of securities or other transactions. Under normal market conditions, any borrowing by each of the iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2028 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF and iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF will not exceed 10% of the Fund’s net assets; however, each Fund generally does not intend to borrow money.
The purchase of securities while borrowings are outstanding may have the effect of leveraging a Fund. The incurrence of leverage increases a Fund’s exposure to risk, and borrowed funds are subject to interest costs that will reduce net income. Purchasing securities while borrowings are outstanding creates special risks, such as the potential for greater volatility in the net asset value of Fund shares and in the yield on a Fund’s portfolio. In addition, the interest expenses from borrowings may exceed the income generated by a Fund’s portfolio and, therefore, the amount available (if any) for distribution to shareholders as dividends may be reduced. BFA may determine to maintain outstanding borrowings if it expects that the benefits to a Fund’s shareholders will outweigh the current reduced return.
Certain types of borrowings by a Fund must be made from a bank or may result in a Fund being subject to covenants in credit agreements relating to asset coverage, portfolio composition requirements and other matters. It is not anticipated that observance of such covenants would impede BFA’s management of a Fund’s portfolio in accordance with a Fund’s investment objectives and policies. However, a breach of any such covenants not cured within the specified cure period may result in acceleration of outstanding indebtedness and require a Fund to dispose of portfolio investments at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so.
Corporate Bonds.  Both the Funds and the Underlying Funds invest a substantial portion of their assets in investment-grade corporate bonds. The investment return of corporate bonds reflects interest earned on the security and changes in the market value of the security. The market value of a corporate bond may be affected by changes in the market rate of interest,
4

 


the credit rating of the corporation, the corporation’s performance and perceptions of the corporation in the marketplace. There is a risk that the issuers of the securities may not be able to meet their obligations on interest or principal payments at the time called for by an instrument.
Diversification Status.   The following table sets forth the diversification status of each Fund:
Diversified Funds   Non-Diversified Funds
iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corporate ETF   iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF   iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF   iShares iBonds Dec 2028 Term Corporate ETF
iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF    
iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF    
iShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF    
iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF    
iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF    
iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF    
A fund classified as “diversified” under the 1940 Act may not purchase securities of an issuer (other than (i) obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities and (ii) securities of other investment companies) if, with respect to 75% of its total assets, (a) more than 5% of the fund’s total assets would be invested in securities of that issuer or (b) the fund would hold more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of that issuer. With respect to the remaining 25% of its total assets, the fund may invest more than 5% of its assets in one issuer. Under the 1940 Act, a fund cannot change its classification from diversified to non-diversified without shareholder approval.
 A non-diversified fund is a fund that is not limited by the 1940 Act with regard to the percentage of its assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer. The securities of a particular issuer (or securities of issuers in particular industries) may constitute a significant percentage of the underlying index of such a fund and, consequently, the fund’s investment portfolio. This may adversely affect a fund’s performance or subject the fund’s shares to greater price volatility than that experienced by more diversified investment companies.
Each Fund (whether diversified or non-diversified) intends to maintain the required level of diversification and otherwise conduct its operations so as to qualify as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) for purposes of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Internal Revenue Code”), and to relieve the Fund of any liability for U.S. federal income tax to the extent that its earnings are distributed to shareholders, provided that the Fund satisfies a minimum distribution requirement. Compliance with the diversification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code may limit the investment flexibility of the Funds and may make it less likely that the Funds will meet their respective investment objectives.
Investments in Underlying Funds and Other Investment Companies.  To implement its asset allocation strategy, each Fund may invest some or all of its assets in one or more Underlying Funds. Each Underlying Fund generally invests directly in portfolio securities. Each Fund may also invest in other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (commonly referred to as “ETFs”) that are not iShares ETFs, to the extent permitted by law.
Lending Portfolio Securities.  Each Fund may lend portfolio securities to certain borrowers that BFA determines to be creditworthy, including borrowers affiliated with BFA. The borrowers provide collateral that is maintained in an amount at least equal to the current market value of the securities loaned. No securities loan shall be made on behalf of a Fund if, as a result, the aggregate value of all securities loaned by the Fund exceeds one-third of the value of the Fund's total assets (including the value of the collateral received). A Fund may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the return of the securities loaned. Each Fund receives, by way of substitute payment, the value of any interest or cash or non-cash distributions paid on the loaned securities that it would have received if the securities were not on loan.
With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the borrower may be entitled to receive a fee based on the amount of cash collateral. The Funds are typically compensated by the difference between the amount earned on the reinvestment of cash collateral and the fee paid to the borrower. In the case of collateral other than cash, a Fund is typically compensated by a
5

 


fee paid by the borrower equal to a percentage of the market value of the loaned securities. Any cash collateral may be reinvested in certain short-term instruments either directly on behalf of each lending Fund or through one or more joint accounts or money market funds, including those affiliated with BFA; such investments are subject to investment risk.
Each Fund conducts its securities lending pursuant to an exemptive order from the SEC permitting it to lend portfolio securities to borrowers affiliated with the Fund and to retain an affiliate of the Fund to act as securities lending agent. To the extent that a Fund engages in securities lending, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. (“BTC”) acts as securities lending agent for the Fund, subject to the overall supervision of BFA. BTC administers the lending program in accordance with guidelines approved by the Trust's Board of Trustees (the “Board,” the trustees of which are the “Trustees”).
Securities lending involves exposure to certain risks, including operational risk (i.e., the risk of losses resulting from problems in the settlement and accounting process), “gap” risk (i.e., the risk of a mismatch between the return on cash collateral reinvestments and the fees a Fund has agreed to pay a borrower), and credit, legal, counterparty and market risk. If a securities lending counterparty were to default, a Fund would be subject to the risk of a possible delay in receiving collateral or in recovering the loaned securities, or to a possible loss of rights in the collateral. In the event a borrower does not return a Fund’s securities as agreed, the Fund may experience losses if the proceeds received from liquidating the collateral do not at least equal the value of the loaned security at the time the collateral is liquidated, plus the transaction costs incurred in purchasing replacement securities. This event could trigger adverse tax consequences for a Fund. A Fund could lose money if its short-term investment of the collateral declines in value over the period of the loan. Substitute payments for dividends received by a Fund for securities loaned out by the Fund will not be considered qualified dividend income. BTC will take into account the tax effects on shareholders caused by this difference in connection with a Fund’s securities lending program. Substitute payments received on tax-exempt securities loaned out will not be tax-exempt income.
Liquidity Risk Management.  Rule 22e-4 under the Investment Company Act (the “Liquidity Rule”) requires open-end funds, including ETFs such as the Funds, to establish a liquidity risk management program (the “Liquidity Program”) and enhance disclosures regarding fund liquidity. As required by the Liquidity Rule, the Funds have implemented a Liquidity Program, and the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees of the Funds, has appointed BFA as the liquidity risk program administrator of the Liquidity Program. Under the Liquidity Program, BFA assesses, manages, and periodically reviews each Fund’s liquidity risk and classifies each investment held by a Fund as a “highly liquid investment,” “moderately liquid investment,” “less liquid investment” or “illiquid investment.” The Liquidity Rule defines “liquidity risk” as the risk that a Fund could not meet requests to redeem shares issued by a Fund without significant dilution of the remaining investors’ interest in a Fund. The liquidity of a Fund's portfolio investments is determined based on relevant market, trading and investment-specific considerations under the Liquidity Program. There are exclusions from certain portions of the liquidity risk management program requirements for “in-kind” ETFs, as defined in the Liquidity Rule. To the extent that an investment is deemed to be an illiquid investment or a less liquid investment, a Fund can expect to be exposed to greater liquidity risk.
Non-U.S. Securities.  Each Fund and certain of the Underlying Funds invest in certain obligations or securities of non-U.S. issuers. An issuer of a security may be deemed to be located in a particular country if: (i) the principal trading market for the security is in such country, (ii) the issuer is organized under the laws of such country, (iii) the issuer derives at least 50% of its revenues or profits from such country or has at least 50% of its assets situated in such country or, (iv) the issuer is the government of the particular country.
Privately-Issued Securities.   The Funds or an Underlying Fund may invest in privately-issued securities, including those that may be resold only in accordance with Rule 144A or Regulation S under the 1933 Act (“Restricted Securities”). Restricted Securities are not publicly-traded and are subject to a variety of restrictions, which limit a purchaser's ability to acquire or resell such securities. Accordingly, the liquidity of the market for specific Restricted Securities may vary. Delay or difficulty in selling such securities may result in a loss to a Fund.
Ratings.  An investment-grade rating generally means the security or issuer is rated investment-grade by one or more of Moody’s® Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), Standard & Poor’s® Financial Services LLC, a subsidiary of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (“S&P Global Ratings”), Fitch Ratings, Inc. (“Fitch”), or another credit rating agency designated as a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”) by the SEC, or is unrated but considered to be of equivalent quality by BFA. Generally, bonds rated Baa3 or above by Moody’s or BBB- or above by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch are considered “investment-grade” securities, bonds rated Baa are considered medium grade obligations subject to moderate credit risk and may possess certain speculative characteristics, while bonds rated BBB are regarded as having adequate capacity to meet financial commitments.
6

 


Subsequent to purchase by a Fund or an Underlying Fund, a rated security may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below an investment-grade rating. Bonds rated lower than Baa3 by Moody’s or BBB- by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch are generally considered below investment-grade quality and are obligations of issuers that are generally considered predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal according to the terms of the obligation and, therefore, carry greater investment risk, including the possibility of issuer default and bankruptcy and increased market price volatility. Such lower-rated securities are commonly referred to as “junk bonds” and are subject to a substantial degree of credit risk. Please see Appendix B of this SAI for a description of each rating category of Moody's, S&P Global Ratings and Fitch and BFA's treatment of investments that are not rated by any of the rating agencies.
Regulation Regarding Derivatives.  The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) subjects advisers to registered investment companies to regulation by the CFTC if a fund that is advised by the adviser either (i) invests, directly or indirectly, more than a prescribed level of its liquidation value in CFTC-regulated futures, options and swaps (“CFTC Derivatives”), or (ii) markets itself as providing investment exposure to such instruments. The CFTC also subjects advisers to registered investment companies to regulation by the CFTC if the registered investment company invests in one or more commodity pools. To the extent a Fund uses CFTC Derivatives, it intends to do so below such prescribed levels and intends not to market itself as a “commodity pool” or a vehicle for trading such instruments.
BFA has claimed an exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) pursuant to Rule 4.5 under the CEA with respect to each Fund. BFA is not, therefore, subject to registration or regulation as a “commodity pool operator” under the CEA with respect to the Funds.
Derivative contracts, including, without limitation, swaps, currency forwards, and non-deliverable forwards, are subject to regulation under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”) in the U.S. and under comparable regimes in Europe, Asia and other non-U.S. jurisdictions. Swaps, non-deliverable forwards and certain other derivatives traded in the over-the-counter (“OTC”) market are subject to variation margin requirements, and initial margining requirements will be phased in through 2020. Implementation of the margining and other provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act regarding clearing, mandatory trading, reporting and documentation of swaps and other derivatives have impacted and may continue to impact the costs to a Fund of trading these instruments and, as a result, may affect returns to investors in a Fund.
As a result of regulatory requirements under the 1940 Act, a Fund is required to maintain an amount of liquid assets, accrued on a daily basis, having an aggregate value at least equal to the value of a Fund’s obligations under the applicable derivatives contract. To the extent that derivatives contracts are settled on a physical basis, a Fund will generally be required to maintain an amount of liquid assets equal to the notional value of the contract. On the other hand, in connection with derivatives contracts that are performed on a net basis, a Fund will generally be required to maintain liquid assets, accrued daily, equal only to the accrued excess, if any, of a Fund’s obligations over those of its counterparty under the contract. Accordingly, reliance by a Fund on physically-settled derivatives contracts may adversely impact investors by requiring a Fund to set aside a greater amount of liquid assets than would generally be required if a Fund were relying on cash-settled derivatives contracts.
Repurchase Agreements.  A repurchase agreement is an instrument under which the purchaser (i.e., a Fund or an Underlying Fund) acquires a security and the seller agrees, at the time of the sale, to repurchase the security at a mutually agreed-upon time and price, thereby determining the yield during the purchaser’s holding period. Repurchase agreements may be construed to be collateralized loans by the purchaser to the seller secured by the securities transferred to the purchaser. If a repurchase agreement is construed to be a collateralized loan, the underlying securities will not be considered to be owned by a Fund or an Underlying Fund but only to constitute collateral for the seller’s obligation to pay the repurchase price, and, in the event of a default by the seller, the Fund may suffer time delays and incur costs or losses in connection with the disposition of the collateral.
In any repurchase transaction, the collateral for a repurchase agreement may include: (i) cash items; (ii) obligations issued by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities; or (iii) obligations that, at the time the repurchase agreement is entered into, are determined to (A) have exceptionally strong capacity to meet their financial obligations and (B) are sufficiently liquid such that they can be sold at approximately their carrying value in the ordinary course of business within seven days.
Repurchase agreements pose certain risks for a Fund or an Underlying Fund that utilizes them. Such risks are not unique to the Funds, but are inherent in repurchase agreements. Each Fund seeks to minimize such risks, but because of the inherent legal uncertainties involved in repurchase agreements, such risks cannot be eliminated. Lower quality collateral and collateral
7

 


with a longer maturity may be subject to greater price fluctuations than higher quality collateral and collateral with a shorter maturity. If the repurchase agreement counterparty were to default, lower quality collateral may be more difficult to liquidate than higher quality collateral. Should the counterparty default and the amount of collateral not be sufficient to cover the counterparty’s repurchase obligation, a Fund or an Underlying Fund would likely retain the status of an unsecured creditor of the counterparty (i.e., the position a Fund or an Underlying Fund would normally be in if it were to hold, pursuant to its investment policies, other unsecured debt securities of the defaulting counterparty) with respect to the amount of the shortfall. As an unsecured creditor, a Fund or an Underlying Fund would be at risk of losing some or all of the principal and income involved in the transaction.
Securities of Investment Companies.  Each Fund and each Underlying Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies (including money market funds) to the extent permitted by law, regulation, exemptive order or SEC staff guidance. Under the 1940 Act, a fund’s investment in investment companies is limited to, subject to certain exceptions, (i) 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of any one investment company, (ii) 5% of the fund’s total assets with respect to any one investment company, and (iii) 10% of the fund’s total assets with respect to investment companies in the aggregate. To the extent allowed by law or regulation, the Funds and each Underlying Fund intend from time to time to invest their assets in securities of investment companies, including, but not limited to, money market funds, including those advised by BFA or otherwise affiliated with BFA, in excess of the limits discussed above. Other investment companies in which a Fund invests can be expected to incur fees and expenses for operations, such as investment advisory and administration fees, which would be in addition to those incurred by a Fund. Pursuant to guidance issued by the SEC staff, fees and expenses of money market funds used for cash collateral received in connection with loans of securities are not treated as Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, which reflect a Fund’s pro rata share of the fees and expenses incurred by investing in other investment companies (as disclosed in the Prospectus, as applicable).
An Underlying Fund may purchase shares of ETFs for the same reason it would purchase (and as an alternative to purchasing) futures contracts – to obtain relatively low-cost exposure to the stock market while maintaining flexibility to meet the liquidity needs of the Underlying Fund. ETF shares enjoy several advantages over futures contracts. Depending on the market, the holding period, and other factors, ETF shares can be less costly than futures contracts. In addition, ETF shares can be purchased for smaller sums and offer exposure to market sectors and styles for which there is no suitable or liquid futures contract. An Underlying Fund may also purchase ETF shares for other purposes, including improving its ability to track its underlying index. An Underlying Fund may invest in shares of ETFs that are advised by BFA.
Short-Term Instruments and Temporary Investments.  Each Fund and the Underlying Funds may invest in short-term instruments, including money market instruments, on an ongoing basis to provide liquidity or for other reasons. Money market instruments are generally short-term investments that may include, but are not limited to: (i) shares of money market funds (including those advised by BFA or otherwise affiliated with BFA); (ii) obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities (including government-sponsored enterprises); (iii) negotiable certificates of deposit (“CDs”), bankers’ acceptances, fixed-time deposits and other obligations of U.S. and non-U.S. banks (including non-U.S. branches) and similar institutions; (iv) commercial paper rated, at the date of purchase, “Prime-1” by Moody's, “F-1” by Fitch, or “A-1” by S&P Global Ratings, or if unrated, of comparable quality as determined by BFA; (v) non-convertible corporate debt securities (e.g., bonds and debentures) with remaining maturities at the date of purchase of not more than 397 days and that have been determined to present minimal credit risks, in accordance with the requirements set forth in Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act; (vi) repurchase agreements; and (vii) short-term U.S. dollar-denominated obligations of non-U.S. banks (including U.S. branches) that, in the opinion of BFA, are of comparable quality to obligations of U.S. banks that may be purchased by a Fund. Any of these instruments may be purchased on a current or forward-settled basis. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates. Bankers’ acceptances are time drafts drawn on commercial banks by borrowers, usually in connection with international transactions.
U.S.-Registered and Restricted Securities of Non-U.S. Issuers.  The Fund or an Underlying Fund may invest in U.S.-registered, U.S. dollar-denominated bonds of non-U.S. corporate issuers. Each Fund or an Underlying Fund may invest in Restricted Securities issued by non-U.S. issuers. Investing in U.S.-registered, U.S. dollar-denominated bonds or Restricted Securities issued by non-U.S. issuers involves some risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in U.S. issuers. These include differences in accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards; the possibility of expropriation or confiscatory taxation; adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations; political instability, which could affect U.S. investments in foreign countries; and potential restrictions of the flow of international capital. Non-U.S. issuers may be subject to less governmental regulation than U.S. issuers. In addition, the risk that the issuer may fail to meet its obligations
8

 


on these securities may be affected by fluctuations in non-U.S. currency exchange rates between the issuer's local currency and the U.S. dollar. Moreover, individual non-U.S. economies may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross domestic product (“GDP”), rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency and balance of payment positions.
Future Developments.  The board of each Fund may, in the future, authorize each Fund to invest in securities contracts and investments, other than those listed in this SAI and in the applicable Prospectus, provided they are consistent with the Fund's investment objective and do not violate any of its investment restrictions or policies.
General Considerations and Risks
A discussion of some of the principal risks associated with an investment in a Fund is contained in the applicable Prospectus. Because each Fund expects to obtain its exposure to the securities in the Underlying Index substantially through its investment in the Underlying Funds, shareholders should be aware that the risks of investment in particular types of securities, economic sectors and geographic locations discussed below may be borne by the Fund through its investment in the Underlying Funds. Through its investment in the Underlying Funds, each Fund will also bear the risks described below associated with the Underlying Funds' use of portfolio management techniques, such as borrowing arrangements and use of derivatives, in addition to the risks associated with those activities if the Funds engage in them directly.
An investment in a Fund should be made with an understanding that the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities, including its investment in the Underlying Fund, may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of the issuers of the portfolio securities, the value of bonds in general, and other factors that affect the market.
Borrowing Risk.  Borrowing may exaggerate changes in the net asset value of Fund shares and in the return on a Fund’s portfolio. Borrowing will cause a Fund to incur interest expense and other fees. The costs of borrowing may reduce a Fund’s return. Borrowing may cause a Fund to liquidate positions when it may not be advantageous to do so to satisfy its obligations.
Call Risk.  During periods of falling interest rates, an issuer of a callable bond held by the Funds or an Underlying Fund may “call” or repay the security before its stated maturity, and a Fund or an Underlying Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in securities with lower yields, which would result in a decline in the Fund's income, or in securities with greater risks or with other less favorable features.
Custody Risk.  Custody risk refers to the risks inherent in the process of clearing and settling trades and to the holding of securities, cash and other assets by local banks, agents and depositories. Low trading volumes and volatile prices in less developed markets make trades harder to complete and settle, and governments or trade groups may compel local agents to hold securities in designated depositories that may not be subject to independent evaluation. Local agents are held only to the standards of care of their local markets, and thus may be subject to limited or no government oversight. Communications between the U.S. and emerging market countries may be unreliable, increasing the risk of delayed settlements or losses of security certificates. In general, the less developed a country’s securities market is, the greater the likelihood of custody problems. Practices in relation to the settlement of securities transactions in emerging markets involve higher risks than those in developed markets, in part because of the use of brokers and counterparties that are often less well capitalized, and custody and registration of assets in some countries may be unreliable. The possibility of fraud, negligence or undue influence being exerted by the issuer or refusal to recognize ownership exists in some emerging markets, and, along with other factors, could result in ownership registration being lost. In addition, the laws of certain countries may put limits on a Fund’s or an Underlying Fund's ability to recover its assets if a foreign bank or depository or issuer of a security or an agent of any of the foregoing goes bankrupt. A Fund would absorb any loss resulting from such custody problems and may have no successful claim for compensation.
Extension Risk.  During periods of rising interest rates, certain debt obligations may be paid off substantially more slowly than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply, resulting in a decline in a Fund’s income and potentially in the value of a Fund’s investments.
Interest Rate Risk.  As interest rates rise, the value of a fixed-income security held by the Funds or an Underlying Fund is likely to decrease. Securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes, usually making their prices more volatile than those of securities with shorter durations. To the extent the Funds or an Underlying Fund invests a
9

 


substantial portion of its assets in fixed-income securities with longer-term duration, which is expected to occur to a greater degree earlier in the life of each Fund, rising interest rates may cause the value of the Funds or an Underlying Fund’s investments to decline significantly, which may adversely affect the value of each Fund or an Underlying Fund. An increase in interest rates may lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and adversely affect the liquidity of certain fixed-income investments. In addition, decreases in fixed-income dealer market-making capacity may also potentially lead to heightened volatility and reduced liquidity in the fixed-income markets.
The historically low interest rate environment in recent years was created in part by the U.S. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Fed”) and certain foreign central banks keeping the federal funds and equivalent foreign rates at or near zero percent. The Fed recently raised its benchmark interest rate several times as the U.S. labor market strengthened and economic activity accelerated. The Fed indicated that it expects some further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Fed’s objective over the medium term.
Investment in Underlying Funds Risk.  Certain Funds may under certain circumstances invest a substantial portion of their assets in one or more Underlying Funds, in which case such Funds’ investment performance is likely to be directly related to the performance of the Underlying Funds. A Fund may also invest in other funds, including money market funds. A Fund’s NAV will change with changes in the value of the Underlying Funds and other securities in which the Fund invests based on their market valuations. An investment in a Fund that invests a substantial portion of its assets in one of more Underlying Funds will entail more direct and indirect costs and expenses than a direct investment in the Underlying Funds. For example, such a Fund indirectly pays a portion of the expenses (including operating expenses and management fees) incurred by the Underlying Funds.
An investor in such a Fund may receive taxable gains from portfolio transactions by the Underlying Funds, as well as taxable gains from transactions in shares of the Underlying Funds by the Fund. Certain of the Funds may also hold common portfolio securities.
As the Underlying Funds or a Fund’s allocations to the Underlying Funds change from time to time, or to the extent that the expense ratio of the Underlying Funds changes, the weighted average operating expenses borne by a Fund may increase or decrease.
Issuer Insolvency Risk.  Each Fund's and each Underlying Fund's potential exposure to financially or operationally troubled issuers involves a high degree of credit and market risk, which may be heightened during an economic downturn or recession. Should an issuer of securities held by a Fund become involved in a bankruptcy proceeding, reorganization or financial restructuring, a wide variety of considerations make an evaluation of the outcome of a Fund’s exposure to the issuer uncertain.
During the period of a bankruptcy proceeding, reorganization or financial restructuring, it is unlikely that each Fund or the Underlying Funds will receive any interest payments on the securities of the issuer. Each Fund or the Underlying Funds will be subject to significant uncertainty as to whether the reorganization or restructuring will be completed, and each Fund or the Underlying Funds may bear certain extraordinary expenses to protect and recover its investment. Each Fund or the Underlying Funds will also be subject to significant uncertainty as to when and in what manner and for what value the obligations evidenced by the securities of the issuer held by each Fund or the Underlying Funds will eventually be satisfied. Even if a plan of reorganization or restructuring is adopted with respect to the securities of the issuer held by each Fund or the Underlying Funds, there can be no assurance that the securities or other assets received by each Fund or the Underlying Funds in connection with such plan of reorganization or restructuring will not have a lower value or income potential than may have been anticipated or no value. A Fund or the Underlying Funds may be unable to enforce its claims or rights in any collateral or may have its claims or security interest in any collateral challenged, disallowed or subordinated to the claims or security interests of other creditors. In addition, amendments to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code or other relevant laws could alter the expected outcome or introduce greater uncertainty regarding the outcome of each Fund’s securities holdings in the issuer. In a bankruptcy proceeding, a reorganization or restructuring, the securities of the issuer held by each Fund or the Underlying Funds could be re-characterized or each Fund or the Underlying Funds may receive different securities or other assets, including equity securities. These types of equity securities include, but are not limited to: common stock; preferred stock (including convertible preferred stock); bonds, notes and debentures convertible into common or preferred stock; stock purchase warrants and rights; equity interests in trusts; and depositary receipts. The value of equity securities received by each Fund or the Underlying Funds could decline if the financial condition of the issuer deteriorates or if overall market and
10

 


economic conditions, or conditions within the issuer’s region or industry, deteriorate. Equity securities received by a Fund through a bankruptcy proceeding, reorganization or restructuring of an issuer would not be component securities of a Fund’s Underlying Index, which could subject a Fund to additional tracking error risk.
To the extent that each Fund or the Underlying Funds receives other assets in connection with a bankruptcy proceeding, reorganization or financial restructuring, each Fund or the Underlying Funds may also be subject to additional risks associated with the assets received. One example of assets that each Fund or the Underlying Funds could receive is an interest in one or more loans made to the issuer as part of a workout agreed to by a consortium of lienholders and creditors of the issuer. Each Fund or the Underlying Funds may receive such interests in loans to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act.
Securities or other assets received in a reorganization or restructuring typically entail a higher degree of risk than investments in securities of issuers that have not undergone a reorganization or restructuring and may be subject to heavy selling or downward pricing pressure after completion of the reorganization or restructuring. The post-reorganization/restructuring assets and securities may also be illiquid and difficult to sell or value. If each Fund or the Underlying Funds participates in negotiations with respect to a plan of reorganization or restructuring with respect to securities of the issuer held by each Fund or the Underlying Funds, each Fund also may be restricted from disposing such securities for a period of time. If each Fund or the Underlying Funds becomes involved in such proceedings, each Fund or the Underlying Funds may have more active participation in the affairs of the issuer than that assumed generally by an investor.
Operational Risk.  BFA and a Fund's other service providers may experience disruptions or operating errors such as processing errors or human errors, inadequate or failed internal or external processes, or systems or technology failures, that could negatively impact the Funds. While service providers are required to have appropriate operational risk management policies and procedures, their methods of operational risk management may differ from a Fund’s in the setting of priorities, the personnel and resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. BFA, through its monitoring and oversight of service providers, seeks to ensure that service providers take appropriate precautions to avoid and mitigate risks that could lead to disruptions and operating errors. However, it is not possible for BFA or the other Fund service providers to identify all of the operational risks that may affect a Fund or to develop processes and controls to completely eliminate or mitigate their occurrence or effects.
Risk of Investing in Non-U.S. Debt Securities.  Each Fund and certain of the Underlying Funds may invest in non-U.S. debt securities as determined by the index provider. An investment in a Fund or an Underlying Fund involves risks associated with investing in a portfolio of debt securities traded on foreign exchanges and OTC in the respective countries covered by a Fund or an Underlying Fund. These risks typically include market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic and political developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in bond prices. Investing in a fund whose portfolio contains securities of non-U.S. issuers involves certain risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in the securities of U.S. issuers. These risks include generally less liquid and less efficient securities markets; generally greater price volatility; less publicly available information about issuers; the imposition of withholding or other taxes; the imposition of restrictions on the expatriation of funds or other assets of a Fund or an Underlying Fund; higher transaction and custody costs; delays and risks attendant in settlement procedures; difficulties in enforcing contractual obligations; lower liquidity and significantly smaller market capitalization of most non-U.S. securities markets; different accounting and disclosure standards; lower levels of regulation of the securities markets; more substantial government interference with the economy; higher rates of inflation; greater social, economic, and political uncertainty; the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets; and different bankruptcy and insolvency regimes which may stay or prevent recovery in the event of an issuer’s default.
Valuation Risk.  In certain circumstances, a Fund’s or an Underlying Fund's securities may be valued using techniques other than market quotations. The value established for a security may be different from what would be produced through the use of another methodology or if the value had been priced using market quotations. Securities that are valued using methods other than market quotations, including “fair valued” securities, may be subject to greater fluctuation in their value from one day to the next than would be the case if market quotations were used. In addition, there is no assurance that a Fund and an Underlying Fund could sell a security for the value established for it at any time, and it is possible that a Fund or an Underlying Fund could incur a loss if a security is sold for less than its established value.
Risk of Investing in Asia.   Investments in securities of issuers in certain Asian countries involve risks not typically associated with investments in securities of issuers in other regions. Such heightened risks include, among others, expropriation and/or nationalization of assets, confiscatory taxation, piracy of intellectual property, data and other security breaches (especially of
11

 


data stored electronically), political instability, including authoritarian and/or military involvement in governmental decision-making, armed conflict and social instability as a result of religious, ethnic and/or socio-economic unrest. Certain Asian economies have experienced rapid rates of economic growth and industrialization in recent years, and there is no assurance that these rates of economic growth and industrialization will be maintained.
Certain Asian countries have democracies with relatively short histories, which may increase the risk of political instability. These countries have faced political and military unrest, and further unrest could present a risk to their local economies and securities markets. Indonesia and the Philippines have each experienced violence and terrorism, which has negatively impacted their economies. North Korea and South Korea each have substantial military capabilities, and historical tensions between the two countries present the risk of war. Escalated tensions involving the two countries and any outbreak of hostilities between the two countries, or even the threat of an outbreak of hostilities, could have a severe adverse effect on the entire Asian region. Certain Asian countries have also developed increasingly strained relationships with the U.S., and if these relations were to worsen, they could adversely affect Asian issuers that rely on the U.S. for trade. Political, religious, and border disputes persist in India. India has recently experienced and may continue to experience civil unrest and hostilities with certain of its neighboring countries. Increased political and social unrest in these geographic areas could adversely affect the performance of investments in this region.
Certain governments in this region administer prices on several basic goods, including fuel and electricity, within their respective countries. Certain governments may exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector in their respective countries and may own or control many companies. Future government actions could have a significant effect on the economic conditions in this region, which in turn could have a negative impact on private sector companies. There is also the possibility of diplomatic developments adversely affecting investments in the region.
Corruption and the perceived lack of a rule of law in dealings with international companies in certain Asian countries may discourage foreign investment and could negatively impact the long-term growth of certain economies in this region. In addition, certain countries in the region are experiencing high unemployment and corruption, and have fragile banking sectors.
Some economies in this region are dependent on a range of commodities, including oil, natural gas and coal. Accordingly, they are strongly affected by international commodity prices and particularly vulnerable to any weakening in global demand for these products. The market for securities in this region may also be directly influenced by the flow of international capital, and by the economic and market conditions of neighboring countries. Adverse economic conditions or developments in neighboring countries may increase investors' perception of the risk of investing in the region as a whole, which may adversely impact the market value of the securities issued by companies in the region.
Risk of Investing in Australasia.  The economies of Australasia, which include Australia and New Zealand, are dependent on exports from the agricultural and mining sectors. This makes Australasian economies susceptible to fluctuations in the commodity markets. Australasian economies are also increasingly dependent on their growing service industries. Australia and New Zealand are located in a part of the world that has historically been prone to natural disasters, such as drought and flooding. Any such event in the future could have a significant adverse impact on the economies of Australia and New Zealand and affect the value of securities held by a Fund. The economies of Australia and New Zealand are dependent on trading with certain key trading partners, including Asia, Europe and the U.S. The Australia–U.S. Free Trade Agreement has significantly expanded the trading relationship between the U.S. and Australia. Economic events in the U.S., Asia, or in other key trading countries can have a significant economic effect on the Australian economy. The economies of Australia and New Zealand are heavily dependent on the mining sector. Passage of new regulations limiting foreign ownership of companies in the mining sector or imposition of new taxes on profits of mining companies may dissuade foreign investment, and as a result, have a negative impact on companies to which a Fund has exposure.
Risk of Investing in Central and South America.  The economies of certain Central and South American countries have experienced high interest rates, economic volatility, inflation, currency devaluations, government defaults, high unemployment rates and political instability which can adversely affect issuers in these countries. In addition, commodities (such as oil, gas and minerals) represent a significant percentage of exports for the regions and many economies in these regions are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices. Adverse economic events in one country may have a significant adverse effect on other countries of these regions.
The governments of certain countries in Central and South America may exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector and may own or control many companies. Future government actions could have a significant effect on the
12

 


economic conditions in such countries, which could have a negative impact on the securities in which a Fund invests. Diplomatic developments may also adversely affect investments in certain countries in Central and South America. Some countries in Central and South America may be affected by public corruption and crime, including organized crime.
Certain countries in Central and South America may be heavily dependent upon international trade and, consequently, have been and may continue to be negatively affected by trade barriers, exchange controls, managed adjustments in relative currency values and other protectionist measures imposed or negotiated by the countries with which they trade. These countries also have been and may continue to be adversely affected by economic conditions in the countries with which they trade. In addition, certain issuers located in countries in Central and South America in which a Fund or an Underlying Fund invests may be the subject of sanctions (for example, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on certain Venezuelan individuals, corporate entities and the Venezuelan government) or have dealings with countries subject to sanctions and/or embargoes imposed by the U.S. government and the United Nations and/or countries identified by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism. An issuer may sustain damage to its reputation if it is identified as an issuer that has dealings with such countries. A Fund or an Underlying Fund may be adversely affected if it invests in such issuers.
Risk of Investing in Developed Countries.  Many countries with developed markets have recently experienced significant economic pressures. These countries generally tend to rely on the services sectors (e.g., the financial services sector) as the primary source of economic growth and may be susceptible to the risks of individual service sectors. For example, companies in the financial services sector are subject to governmental regulation and, recently, government intervention, which may adversely affect the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge and amount of capital they must maintain. Recent dislocations in the financial sector and perceived or actual governmental influence over certain financial companies may lead to credit rating downgrades and, as a result, impact, among other things, revenue growth for such companies. If financial companies experience a prolonged decline in revenue growth, certain developed countries that rely heavily on financial companies as an economic driver may experience a correlative slowdown. Recently, new concerns have emerged with respect to the economic health of certain developed countries. These concerns primarily stem from heavy indebtedness of many developed countries and their perceived inability to continue to service high debt loads without simultaneously implementing stringent austerity measures. Such concerns have led to tremendous downward pressure on the economies of these countries. As a result, it is possible that interest rates on debt of certain developed countries may rise to levels that make it difficult for such countries to service such debt. Spending on health care and retirement pensions in most developed countries has risen dramatically over the last few years. Medical innovation, extended life expectancy and higher public expectations are likely to continue the increase in health care and pension costs. Any increase in health care and pension costs will likely have a negative impact on the economic growth of many developed countries. Certain developed countries rely on imports of certain key items, such as crude oil, natural gas, and other commodities. As a result, an increase in demand for, or price fluctuations of, certain commodities may negatively affect developed country economies. Developed market countries generally are dependent on the economies of certain key trading partners. Changes in any one economy may cause an adverse impact on several developed countries. In addition, heavy regulation of, among others, labor and product markets may have an adverse effect on certain issuers. Such regulations may negatively affect economic growth or cause prolonged periods of recession. Such risks, among others, may adversely affect the value of a Fund’s investments.
Risk of Investing in Emerging Markets.   Investments in emerging market countries may be subject to greater risks than investments in developed countries. These risks include: (i) less social, political, and economic stability; (ii) greater illiquidity and price volatility due to smaller or limited local capital markets for such securities, or low or non-existent trading volumes; (iii) custodians, clearinghouses, foreign exchanges and broker-dealers may be subject to less scrutiny and regulation by local authorities; (iv) local governments may decide to seize or confiscate securities held by foreign investors and/or local governments may decide to suspend or limit an issuer's ability to make dividend or interest payments; (v) local governments may limit or entirely restrict repatriation of invested capital, profits, and dividends; (vi) capital gains may be subject to local taxation, including on a retroactive basis; (vii) issuers facing restrictions on dollar payments imposed by local governments may attempt to make dividend or interest payments to foreign investors in the local currency; (viii) investors may experience difficulty in enforcing legal claims related to the securities and/or local judges may favor the interests of the issuer over those of foreign investors; (ix) bankruptcy judgments may only be permitted to be paid in the local currency; (x) limited public information regarding the issuer may result in greater difficulty in determining market valuations of the securities; and (xi) lack of financial reporting on a regular basis, substandard disclosure and differences in accounting standards may make it difficult to ascertain the financial health of an issuer.
Emerging market securities markets are typically marked by a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of ownership of
13

 


such securities by a limited number of investors. In addition, brokerage and other costs associated with transactions in emerging market securities can be higher, sometimes significantly, than similar costs incurred in securities markets in developed countries. Although some emerging markets have become more established and tend to issue securities of higher credit quality, the markets for securities in other emerging market countries are in the earliest stages of their development, and these countries issue securities across the credit spectrum. Even the markets for relatively widely traded securities in emerging market countries may not be able to absorb, without price disruptions, a significant increase in trading volume or trades of a size customarily undertaken by institutional investors in the securities markets of developed countries. The limited size of many of these securities markets can cause prices to be erratic for reasons apart from factors that affect the soundness and competitiveness of the securities issuers. For example, prices may be unduly influenced by traders who control large positions in these markets. Additionally, market making and arbitrage activities are generally less extensive in such markets, which may contribute to increased volatility and reduced liquidity of such markets. The limited liquidity of emerging market country securities may also affect a Fund's or an Underlying Fund's ability to accurately value its portfolio securities or to acquire or dispose of securities at the price and time it wishes to do so or in order to meet redemption requests.
Many emerging market countries suffer from uncertainty and corruption in their legal frameworks. Legislation may be difficult to interpret and laws may be too new to provide any precedential value. Laws regarding foreign investment and private property may be weak or non-existent. Sudden changes in governments may result in policies which are less favorable to investors such as policies designed to expropriate or nationalize “sovereign” assets. Certain emerging market countries in the past have expropriated large amounts of private property, in many cases with little or no compensation, and there can be no assurance that such expropriation will not occur in the future.
Investment in the securities markets of certain emerging market countries is restricted or controlled to varying degrees. These restrictions may limit a Fund's or an Underlying Fund's investment in certain emerging market countries and may increase the expenses of the Fund or an Underlying Fund. Certain emerging market countries require governmental approval prior to investments by foreign persons or limit investment by foreign persons to only a specified percentage of an issuer's outstanding securities or a specific class of securities which may have less advantageous terms (including price) than securities of the company available for purchase by nationals.
Many emerging market countries lack the social, political, and economic stability characteristic of the U.S. Political instability among emerging market countries can be common and may be caused by an uneven distribution of wealth, social unrest, labor strikes, civil wars, and religious oppression. Economic instability in emerging market countries may take the form of: (i) high interest rates; (ii) high levels of inflation, including hyperinflation; (iii) high levels of unemployment or underemployment; (iv) changes in government economic and tax policies, including confiscatory taxation; and (v) imposition of trade barriers.
A Fund's or an Underlying Fund's income and, in some cases, capital gains from foreign securities will be subject to applicable taxation in certain of the emerging market countries in which it invests, and treaties between the U.S. and such countries may not be available in some cases to reduce the otherwise applicable tax rates.
Emerging markets also have different clearance and settlement procedures, and in certain of these emerging markets there have been times when settlements have been unable to keep pace with the volume of securities transactions, making it difficult to conduct such transactions.
In the past, certain governments in emerging market countries have become overly reliant on the international capital markets and other forms of foreign credit to finance large public spending programs, which in the past have caused huge budget deficits. Often, interest payments have become too overwhelming for a government to meet, representing a large percentage of total GDP. These foreign obligations have become the subject of political debate and served as fuel for political parties of the opposition, which pressure the government not to make payments to foreign creditors, but instead to use these funds for, among other things, social programs. Either due to an inability to pay or submission to political pressure, foreign governments have been forced to seek a restructuring of their loan and/or bond obligations, have declared a temporary suspension of interest payments or have defaulted. These events have adversely affected the values of securities issued by foreign governments and corporations domiciled in those countries and have negatively affected not only their cost of borrowing, but their ability to borrow in the future as well.
14

 


Risk of Investing in Europe.  Investing in European countries may expose a Fund to the economic and political risks associated with Europe in general and the specific European countries in which it invests. The economies and markets of European countries are often closely connected and interdependent, and events in one European country can have an adverse impact on other European countries. A Fund makes investments in securities of issuers that are domiciled in, or have significant operations in, member states of the European Union (the “EU”). A number of countries within the EU are also members of the Economic and Monetary Union (the eurozone) and have adopted the euro as their currency. Eurozone membership requires member states to comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates, debt levels and fiscal and monetary controls, each of which may significantly affect every country in Europe. Changes in import or export tariffs, changes in governmental or EU regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the euro and other currencies of certain EU countries which are not in the eurozone, the default or threat of default by an EU member state on its sovereign debt, and/or an economic recession in an EU member state may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of other EU member states and their trading partners. Although certain European countries are not in the eurozone, many of these countries are obliged to meet the criteria for joining the eurozone. Consequently, these countries must comply with many of the restrictions noted above. The European financial markets have experienced volatility and adverse trends in recent years due to concerns about economic downturns, rising government debt levels and the possible default of government debt in several European countries, including, but not limited to, Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine. In order to prevent further economic deterioration, certain countries, without prior warning, can institute “capital controls.” Countries may use these controls to restrict volatile movements of capital entering and exiting their country. Such controls may negatively affect a Fund’s investments. A default or debt restructuring by any European country would adversely impact holders of that country’s debt and sellers of credit default swaps linked to that country’s creditworthiness, which may be located in countries other than those listed above. In addition, the credit ratings of certain European countries were downgraded in the past. These downgrades may result in further deterioration of investor confidence. These events have adversely affected the value and exchange rate of the euro and may continue to significantly affect the economies of every country in Europe, including countries that do not use the euro and non-EU member states. Responses to the financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not produce the desired results, may result in social unrest and may limit future growth and economic recovery or have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and other entities of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets and asset valuations around the world. In addition, one or more countries may abandon the euro and/or withdraw from the EU. The impact of these actions, especially if they occur in a disorderly fashion, is not clear but could be significant and far-reaching and could adversely impact the value of a Fund’s investments in the region. In a referendum held on June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom (the “U.K.”) resolved to leave the EU (“Brexit”). The referendum may introduce significant uncertainties and instability in the financial markets as the U.K. negotiates its exit from the EU. The outcome of negotiations remains uncertain. U.K. businesses are increasingly preparing for a disorderly Brexit, and the consequences for European and U.K. businesses could be severe. A Fund will face risks associated with the potential uncertainty and consequences that may follow Brexit, including with respect to volatility in exchange rates and interest rates. Brexit could adversely affect European or worldwide political, regulatory, economic or market conditions and could contribute to instability in global political institutions, regulatory agencies and financial markets. Brexit could also lead to legal uncertainty and politically divergent national laws and regulations as a new relationship between the U.K. and EU is defined and the U.K. determines which EU laws to replace or replicate. Any of these effects of Brexit could adversely affect any of the companies to which a Fund has exposure and any other assets in which a Fund invests. The political, economic and legal consequences of Brexit are not yet known. In the short term, financial markets may experience heightened volatility, particularly those in the U.K. and Europe, but possibly worldwide. The U.K. may be less stable than it has been in recent years, and investments in the U.K. may be difficult to value, or subject to greater or more frequent rises and falls in value. In the longer term, there is likely to be a period of significant political, regulatory and commercial uncertainty as the U.K. seeks to negotiate its long-term exit from the EU.
Certain European countries have also developed increasingly strained relationships with the U.S., and if these relations were to worsen, they could adversely affect European issuers that rely on the U.S. for trade. Secessionist movements, such as the Catalan movement in Spain and the independence movement in Scotland, as well as governmental or other responses to such movements, may also create instability and uncertainty in the region. In addition, the national politics of countries in the EU have been unpredictable and subject to influence by varying political groups and ideologies. The governments of EU countries may be subject to change and such countries may experience social and political unrest. Unanticipated or sudden political or social developments may result in sudden and significant investment losses. The occurrence of terrorist incidents throughout Europe also could impact financial markets. The impact of these events is not clear but could be significant and far-reaching and could adversely affect the value and liquidity of a Fund's investments.
15

 


Risk of Investing in North America.  A decrease in imports or exports, changes in trade regulations or an economic recession in any North American country can have a significant economic effect on the entire North American region and on some or all of the North American countries in which a Fund or certain of the Underlying Funds invest.
The U.S. is Canada's and Mexico's largest trading and investment partner. The Canadian and Mexican economies are significantly affected by developments in the U.S. economy. Since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) in 1994 among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, total merchandise trade among the three countries has increased. However, political developments in the U.S., including renegotiation of NAFTA and imposition of tariffs by the U.S., may have implications for the trade arrangements among the U.S., Mexico and Canada, which could negatively affect the value of securities held by a Fund. Policy and legislative changes in one country may have a significant effect on North American markets generally, as well as on the value of certain securities held by the Fund or an Underlying Fund.
Risk of Investing in the Capital Goods Industry.  Companies in the capital goods industry may be affected by fluctuations in the business cycle and by other factors affecting manufacturing demands. Companies in the capital goods industry depend heavily on corporate spending. Companies in the capital goods industry may perform well during times of economic expansion, and as economic conditions worsen, the demand for capital goods may decrease due to weakening demand, worsening business cash flows, tighter credit controls and deteriorating profitability. During times of economic volatility, corporate spending may fall and adversely affect the capital goods industry. This industry may also be affected by changes in interest rates, corporate tax rates and other government policies. Many capital goods are sold internationally and such companies are subject to market conditions in other countries and regions.
Risk of Investing in the Communication Services Sector.  The communication services sector of a country’s economy is often subject to extensive government regulation. The costs of complying with governmental regulations, delays or failure to receive required regulatory approvals, or the enactment of new regulatory requirements may negatively affect the business of communications companies. Government actions around the world, specifically in the area of pre-marketing clearance of products and prices, can be arbitrary and unpredictable. Companies in the communication services sector may encounter distressed cash flows due to the need to commit substantial capital to meet increasing competition, particularly in developing new products and services using new technology. Technological innovations may make the products and services of certain communications companies obsolete.
The domestic telecommunications market is characterized by increasing competition and regulation by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and various state regulatory authorities. Telecommunications providers are generally required to obtain franchises or licenses in order to provide services in a given location. Licensing and franchise rights in the telecommunications sector are limited, which may provide an advantage to certain participants. Limited availability of such rights, high barriers to market entry and regulatory oversight, among other factors, have led to consolidation of companies within the sector, which could lead to further regulation or other negative effects in the future.
Companies in the media and entertainment industries (e.g., companies engaged in television or radio broadcasting, publishing, motion pictures, music by recording artists, casinos, and recreation and amusement businesses) can be significantly affected by several factors, including competition, particularly in formulation products and services using new technologies, cyclicality of revenues and earnings, a potential decrease in the discretionary income of targeted individuals, changing consumer tastes and interests, and the potential increase in state and federal government regulation. Companies in the media and entertainment industries may become obsolete quickly. Advertising spending can be an important revenue source for media and entertainment companies. During economic downturns advertising spending typically decreases and, as a result, media and entertainment companies tend to generate less revenue.
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Cyclical Industry.  A Fund may invest in consumer cyclical companies, which rely heavily on business cycles and economic conditions. Consumer cyclical companies include automotive manufacturers, retail companies, and housing-related companies. The consumer cyclical industry can be significantly affected by several factors, including, without limitation, the performance of domestic and international economies, exchange rates, changing consumer tastes and trends, marketing campaigns, cyclical revenue generation, consumer confidence, commodity price volatility, labor relations, interest rates, import and export controls, intense competition, technological developments and government regulation.
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Staples Sector.  Companies in the consumer staples sector may be adversely affected by changes in the global economy, consumer spending, competition, demographics and consumer preferences, and production spending. Companies in the consumer staples sector may also be affected by changes in global economic, environmental
16

 


and political events, economic conditions, the depletion of resources, and government regulation. For instance, government regulations may affect the permissibility of using various food additives and production methods of companies that make food products, which could affect company profitability. In addition, tobacco companies may be adversely affected by the adoption of proposed legislation and/or by litigation. Companies in the consumer staples sector also may be subject to risks pertaining to the supply of, demand for and prices of raw materials. The prices of raw materials fluctuate in response to a number of factors, including, without limitation, changes in government agricultural support programs, exchange rates, import and export controls, changes in international agricultural and trading policies, and seasonal and weather conditions. Companies in the consumer staples sector may be subject to severe competition, which may also have an adverse impact on their profitability.
Risk of Investing in the Energy Sector.  Companies in the energy sector are strongly affected by the levels and volatility of global energy prices, energy supply and demand, government regulations and policies, energy production and conservation efforts, technological change, development of alternative energy sources, and other factors that they cannot control. These companies may also lack resources and have limited business lines. Energy companies may have relatively high levels of debt and may be more likely to restructure their businesses if there are downturns in certain energy markets or in the global economy. If an energy company in a Fund's portfolio becomes distressed, a Fund could lose all or a substantial portion of its investment.
The energy sector is cyclical and is highly dependent on commodity prices; prices and supplies of energy may fluctuate significantly over short and long periods of time due to, among other things, national and international political changes, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (“OPEC”) policies, changes in relationships among OPEC members and between OPEC and oil-importing nations, the regulatory environment, taxation policies, and the economy of the key energy-consuming countries. Commodity prices have recently been subject to increased volatility and declines, which may negatively affect companies in which a Fund invests.
Companies in the energy sector may be adversely affected by terrorism, natural disasters or other catastrophes. Companies in the energy sector are at risk of civil liability from accidents resulting in injury, loss of life or property, pollution or other environmental damage claims. Disruptions in the oil industry or shifts in fuel consumption may significantly impact companies in this sector. Significant oil and gas deposits are located in emerging markets countries where corruption and security may raise significant risks, in addition to the other risks of investing in emerging markets. Additionally, the Middle East, where many companies in the energy sector may operate, has historically and recently experienced widespread social unrest.
Companies in the energy sector may also be adversely affected by changes in exchange rates, interest rates, economic conditions, tax treatment, government regulation and intervention, negative perception, efforts at energy conservation and world events in the regions in which the companies operate (e.g., expropriation, nationalization, confiscation of assets and property or the imposition of restrictions on foreign investments and repatriation of capital, military coups, social unrest, violence or labor unrest). Because a significant portion of revenues of companies in this sector is derived from a relatively small number of customers that are largely composed of governmental entities and utilities, governmental budget constraints may have a significant impact on the stock prices of companies in this sector. The energy sector is highly regulated. Entities operating in the energy sector are subject to significant regulation of nearly every aspect of their operations by federal, state and local governmental agencies. Such regulation can change rapidly or over time in both scope and intensity. Stricter laws, regulations or enforcement policies could be enacted in the future which would likely increase compliance costs and may materially adversely affect the financial performance of companies in the energy sector.
Risk of Investing in the Financials Sector.  Companies in the financials sector include regional and money center banks, securities brokerage firms, asset management companies, savings banks and thrift institutions, specialty finance companies (e.g., credit card, mortgage providers), insurance and insurance brokerage firms, consumer finance firms, financial conglomerates and foreign banking and financial companies.
Most financial companies are subject to extensive governmental regulation, which limits their activities and may affect their ability to earn a profit from a given line of business. Government regulation may change frequently and may have significant adverse consequences for companies in the financials sector, including effects not intended by the regulation. Direct governmental intervention in the operations of financial companies and financial markets may materially and adversely affect the companies in which a Fund invests, including legislation in many countries that may increase government regulation, repatriation and other intervention. The impact of governmental intervention and legislative changes on any individual
17

 


financial company or on the financials sector as a whole cannot be predicted. The valuation of financial companies has been and continues to be subject to unprecedented volatility and may be influenced by unpredictable factors, including interest rate risk and sovereign debt default. Certain financial businesses are subject to intense competitive pressures, including market share and price competition. Financial companies in foreign countries are subject to market specific and general regulatory and interest rate concerns. In particular, government regulation in certain foreign countries may include taxes and controls on interest rates, credit availability, minimum capital requirements, bans on short sales, limits on prices and restrictions on currency transfers. In addition, companies in the financials sector may be the targets of hacking and potential theft of proprietary or customer information or disruptions in service, which could have a material adverse effect on their businesses.
The profitability of banks, savings and loan associations and financial companies is largely dependent on the availability and cost of capital funds and can fluctuate significantly when interest rates change; for instance, when interest rates go up, the value of securities issued by many types of companies in the financials sector generally goes down. In other words, financial companies may be adversely affected in certain market cycles, including, without limitation, during periods of rising interest rates, which may restrict the availability and increase the cost of capital, and during periods of declining economic conditions, which may cause, among other things, credit losses due to financial difficulties of borrowers.
In addition, general economic conditions are important to the operations of these companies, and financial difficulties of borrowers may have an adverse effect on the profitability of financial companies. Financial companies can be highly dependent upon access to capital markets, and any impediments to such access, such as adverse overall economic conditions or a negative perception in the capital markets of a financial company’s financial condition or prospects, could adversely affect its business. Deterioration of credit markets can have an adverse impact on a broad range of financial markets, causing certain financial companies to incur large losses. In these conditions, companies in the financials sector may experience significant declines in the valuation of their assets, take actions to raise capital and even cease operations. Some financial companies may also be required to accept or borrow significant amounts of capital from government sources and may face future government-imposed restrictions on their businesses or increased government intervention. In addition, there is no guarantee that governments will provide any such relief in the future. These actions may cause the securities of many companies in the financials sector to decline in value.
Risk of Investing in the Industrials Sector.  The value of securities issued by companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by supply of and demand for both their specific products or services and for industrials sector products in general. The products of manufacturing companies may face obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction. Government regulations, world events and economic conditions may affect the performance of companies in the industrials sector. The industrials sector may also be adversely affected by changes or trends in commodity prices, which may be influenced by unpredictable factors. For example, commodity price declines and unit volume reductions resulting from an over-supply of materials used in the industrials sector can adversely affect the sector. Furthermore, companies in the industrials sector may be subject to liability for environmental damage, product liability claims, depletion of resources, and mandated expenditures for safety and pollution control.
Risk of Investing in the Insurance Industry.  The insurance industry is subject to extensive government regulation in some countries and can be significantly affected by changes in interest rates, general economic conditions, price and marketing competition, the imposition of premium rate caps or other changes in government regulation or tax law. Different segments of the insurance industry can be significantly affected by changes in mortality and morbidity rates, environmental clean-up costs and catastrophic events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and terrorist acts.
Risk of Investing in the Real Estate Industry.  Companies in the real estate industry include companies that invest in real estate, such as real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), real estate holding and operating companies or real estate development companies (collectively, “Real Estate Companies”). Investing in Real Estate Companies exposes investors to the risks of owning real estate directly, as well as to risks that relate specifically to the way in which Real Estate Companies are organized and operated. The real estate industry is highly sensitive to general and local economic conditions and developments, and characterized by intense competition and periodic overbuilding. Investing in Real Estate Companies involves various risks. Some risks that are specific to Real Estate Companies are discussed in greater detail below.
Interest Rate Risk. Rising interest rates could result in higher costs of capital for Real Estate Companies, which could negatively impact a Real Estate Company’s ability to meet its payment obligations. Declining interest rates could result in increased prepayment on loans and require redeployment of capital in less desirable investments.
18

 


Leverage Risk. Real Estate Companies may use leverage (and some may be highly leveraged), which increases investment risk and could adversely affect a Real Estate Company’s operations and market value in periods of rising interest rates. Real Estate Companies are also exposed to the risks normally associated with debt financing. Financial covenants related to a Real Estate Company’s leverage may affect the ability of the Real Estate Company to operate effectively. In addition, real property may be subject to the quality of credit extended and defaults by borrowers and tenants. If the properties do not generate sufficient income to meet operating expenses, including, where applicable, debt service, ground lease payments, tenant improvements, third-party leasing commissions and other capital expenditures, the income and ability of a Real Estate Company to make payments of any interest and principal on its debt securities will be adversely affected.
Loan Foreclosure Risk. Real Estate Companies may foreclose on loans that the Real Estate Company originated and/or acquired. Foreclosure may generate negative publicity for the underlying property that affects its market value. In addition to the length and expense of such proceedings, the validity of the terms of the applicable loan may not be recognized in foreclosure proceedings. Claims and defenses asserted by borrowers or other lenders may interfere with the enforcement of rights by a Real Estate Company. Parallel proceedings, such as bankruptcy, may also delay resolution and limit the amount of recovery on a foreclosed loan by a Real Estate Company even where the property underlying the loan is liquidated.
Property Risk. Real Estate Companies may be subject to risks relating to functional obsolescence or reduced desirability of properties; extended vacancies due to economic conditions and tenant bankruptcies; catastrophic events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and terrorist acts; and casualty or condemnation losses. Real estate income and values also may be greatly affected by demographic trends, such as population shifts or changing tastes and values, or increasing vacancies or declining rents resulting from legal, cultural, technological, global or local economic developments.
Distressed Investment Risk. Real Estate Companies may invest in distressed, defaulted or out-of-favor bank loans. Identification and implementation by a Real Estate Company of loan modification and restructure programs involves a high degree of uncertainty. Even successful implementation may still require adverse compromises and may not prevent bankruptcy. Real Estate Companies may also invest in other debt instruments that may become non-performing, including the securities of companies with higher credit and market risk due to financial or operational difficulties. Higher risk securities may be less liquid and more volatile than the securities of companies not in distress.
Underlying Investment Risk. Real Estate Companies make investments in a variety of debt and equity instruments with varying risk profiles. For instance, Real Estate Companies may invest in debt instruments secured by commercial property that have higher risks of delinquency and foreclosure than loans on single family homes due to a variety of factors associated with commercial property, including the tie between income available to service debt and productive use of the property. Real Estate Companies may also invest in debt instruments and preferred equity that are junior in an issuer’s capital structure and that involve privately negotiated structures. Subordinated debt investments, such as B-Notes and mezzanine loans, involve a greater credit risk of default due to the need to service more senior debt of the issuer. Similarly, preferred equity investments involve a greater risk of loss than conventional debt financing due to their non-collateralized nature and subordinated ranking. Investments in commercial mortgage-backed securities may also be junior in priority in the event of bankruptcy or similar proceedings. Investments in senior loans may be effectively subordinated if the senior loan is pledged as collateral. The ability of a holder of junior claims to proceed against a defaulting issuer is circumscribed by the terms of the particular contractual arrangement, which vary considerably from transaction to transaction.
Management Risk. Real Estate Companies are dependent upon management skills and may have limited financial resources. Real Estate Companies are generally not diversified and may be subject to heavy cash flow dependency, default by borrowers and voluntary liquidation. In addition, transactions between Real Estate Companies and their affiliates may be subject to conflicts of interest, which may adversely affect a Real Estate Company’s shareholders. A Real Estate Company may also have joint venture investments in certain of its properties, and, consequently, its ability to control decisions relating to such properties may be limited.
Liquidity Risk. Investing in Real Estate Companies may involve risks similar to those associated with investing in small-capitalization companies. Real Estate Company securities, like the securities of small-capitalization companies, may be more volatile than, and perform differently from, shares of large-capitalization companies. There may be less trading in Real Estate Company shares, which means that buy and sell transactions in those shares could have a magnified impact on share price, resulting in abrupt or erratic price fluctuations. In addition, real estate is relatively illiquid, and, therefore, a Real Estate Company may have a limited ability to vary or liquidate properties in response to changes in economic or other conditions.
19


Concentration Risk. Real Estate Companies may own a limited number of properties and concentrate their investments in a particular geographic region or property type. Economic downturns affecting a particular region, industry or property type may lead to a high volume of defaults within a short period.
U.S. Tax Risk. Certain U.S. Real Estate Companies are subject to special U.S. federal tax requirements. A REIT that fails to comply with such tax requirements may be subject to U.S. federal income taxation, which may affect the value of the REIT and the characterization of the REIT’s distributions. The U.S. federal tax requirement that a REIT distribute substantially all of its net income to its shareholders may result in a REIT having insufficient capital for future expenditures. A REIT that successfully maintains its qualification may still become subject to U.S. federal, state and local taxes, including excise, penalty, franchise, payroll, mortgage recording, and transfer taxes, both directly and indirectly through its subsidiaries.
Regulatory Risk. Real estate income and values may be adversely affected by such factors as applicable domestic and foreign laws (including tax laws). Government actions, such as tax increases, zoning law changes or environmental regulations, also may have a major impact on real estate income and values. In addition, quarterly compliance with regulations limiting the proportion of asset types held by a U.S. REIT may force certain Real Estate Companies to liquidate or restructure otherwise attractive investments. Some countries may not recognize REITs or comparable structures as a viable form of real estate funds.
Risk of Investing in the Technology Sector.  Technology companies are characterized by periodic new product introductions, innovations and evolving industry standards, and, as a result, face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Companies in the technology sector are often smaller and less experienced companies and may be subject to greater risks than larger companies; these risks may be heightened for technology companies in foreign markets. Technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. The products of technology companies may face product obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction, changes in consumer and business purchasing patterns, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. In addition, a rising interest rate environment tends to negatively affect companies in the technology sector because, in such an environment, those companies with high market valuations may appear less attractive to investors, which may cause sharp decreases in the companies’ market prices. Companies in the technology sector are heavily dependent on patent and intellectual property rights. The loss or impairment of these rights may adversely affect the profitability of these companies. The technology sector may also be adversely affected by changes or trends in commodity prices, which may be influenced or characterized by unpredictable factors. Finally, while all companies may be susceptible to network security breaches, certain companies in the technology sector may be particular targets of hacking and potential theft of proprietary or consumer information or disruptions in service, which could have a material adverse effect on their businesses.
Risk of Investing in the Transportation Infrastructure Industry.  Issuers in the transportation infrastructure industry can be significantly affected by economic changes, fuel prices, labor relations, technology developments, exchange rates, industry competition, insurance costs and deteriorating public infrastructure, such as bridges, roads, rails, ports and airports. Transportation companies in certain countries may also be subject to significant government regulation and oversight, which may adversely affect their businesses. Other risk factors that may affect the transportation infrastructure industry include the risk of increases in fuel and other operating costs and the effects of regulatory changes or other government decisions. Companies in the transportation infrastructure industry may be adversely affected by adverse weather, acts of terrorism or catastrophic events, such as air accidents, train crashes or tunnel fires. Companies in the transportation infrastructure industry may also be subject to the risk of widespread disruption of technology systems and increasing equipment and operational costs.
Risk of Investing in the Utilities Sector.  The utilities sector may be adversely affected by changing commodity prices, government regulation stipulating rates charged by utilities, increased tariffs, changes in tax laws, interest rate fluctuations and changes in the cost of providing specific utility services. The utilities industry is also subject to potential terrorist attacks, natural disasters and severe weather conditions, as well as regulatory and operational burdens associated with the operation and maintenance of nuclear facilities. Government regulators monitor and control utility revenues and costs, and therefore may limit utility profits. In certain countries, regulatory authorities may also restrict a company’s access to new markets, thereby diminishing the company’s long-term prospects.
There are substantial differences among the regulatory practices and policies of various jurisdictions, and any regulatory agency may make major shifts in policy from time to time. There is no assurance that regulatory authorities will, in the future,
20

 


grant rate increases. Additionally, existing and possible future regulatory legislation may make it even more difficult for utilities to obtain adequate relief. Certain of the issuers of securities held in a Fund's portfolio may own or operate nuclear generating facilities. Governmental authorities may from time to time review existing policies and impose additional requirements governing the licensing, construction and operation of nuclear power plants. Prolonged changes in climate conditions can also have a significant impact on both the revenues of an electric and gas utility as well as the expenses of a utility, particularly a hydro-based electric utility.
The rates that traditional regulated utility companies may charge their customers generally are subject to review and limitation by governmental regulatory commissions. Rate changes may occur only after a prolonged approval period or may not occur at all, which could adversely affect utility companies when costs are rising. The value of regulated utility debt securities (and, to a lesser extent, equity securities) tends to have an inverse relationship to the movement of interest rates. Certain utility companies have experienced full or partial deregulation in recent years. These utility companies are frequently more similar to industrial companies in that they are subject to greater competition and have been permitted by regulators to diversify outside of their original geographic regions and their traditional lines of business. As a result, some companies may be forced to defend their core business and may be less profitable. Deregulation may also permit a utility company to expand outside of its traditional lines of business and engage in riskier ventures.
Proxy Voting Policy
For all Funds, the Board has delegated the voting of proxies for each Fund’s securities to BFA pursuant to the Funds' Proxy Voting Policy (the “iShares ETFs Proxy Voting Policy”), and BlackRock, Inc. has adopted policies and procedures (the “BlackRock Proxy Voting Policies”) governing proxy voting by accounts managed by BlackRock, Inc., including the Funds.
Under the BlackRock Proxy Voting Policies, BFA will vote proxies related to Fund securities in the best interests of a Fund and its shareholders. From time to time, a vote may present a conflict between the interests of a Fund’s shareholders, on the one hand, and those of BFA, or any affiliated person of a Fund or BFA, on the other. BFA maintains policies and procedures that are designed to prevent undue influence on BFA’s proxy voting activity that might stem from any relationship between the issuer of a proxy (or any dissident shareholder) and BFA, BFA’s affiliates, a Fund or a Fund’s affiliates. Most conflicts are managed through a structural separation of BFA’s Corporate Governance Group from BFA’s employees with sales and client responsibilities. In addition, BFA maintains procedures to ensure that all engagements with corporate issuers or dissident shareholders are managed consistently and without regard to BFA’s relationship with the issuer of the proxy or the dissident shareholder. In certain instances, BFA may determine to engage an independent fiduciary to vote proxies as a further safeguard to avoid potential conflicts of interest or as otherwise required by applicable law.
Copies of the iShares ETFs Proxy Voting Policy and the BlackRock Proxy Voting Policies are attached as Appendices A1 and A2, respectively.
Information with respect to how proxies relating to the Funds' portfolio securities were voted during the 12-month period ended June 30 is available: (i) without charge, upon request, by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or through the Funds' website at www.iShares.com; and (ii) on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
Portfolio Holdings Information
The Board has adopted a policy regarding the disclosure of the Funds' portfolio holdings information that requires that such information be disclosed in a manner that: (i) is consistent with applicable legal requirements and in the best interests of each Fund’s shareholders; (ii) does not put the interests of BFA, the Distributor or any affiliated person of BFA or the Distributor, above those of Fund shareholders; (iii) does not advantage any current or prospective Fund shareholders over any other current or prospective Fund shareholders, except to the extent that certain Entities (as described below) may receive portfolio holdings information not available to other current or prospective Fund shareholders in connection with the dissemination of information necessary for transactions in Creation Units, as discussed below, and certain information may be provided to personnel of BFA and its affiliates who manage funds that invest a significant percentage of their assets in shares of the Fund for the purpose of facilitating risk management and hedging activities; and (iv) does not provide selective access to portfolio holdings information except pursuant to the procedures outlined below and to the extent appropriate confidentiality arrangements limiting the use of such information are in effect. The “Entities” referred to in sub-section (iii)
21

 


above are generally limited to National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) members, subscribers to various fee-based subscription services, large institutional investors (known as “Authorized Participants”) that have been authorized by the Distributor to purchase and redeem large blocks of shares pursuant to legal requirements and market makers and other institutional market participants and entities that provide information or transactional services.
Each business day, each Fund's portfolio holdings information is provided to the Distributor or other agent for dissemination through the facilities of the NSCC and/or other fee-based subscription services to NSCC members and/or subscribers to those other fee-based subscription services, including market makers and Authorized Participants, and to entities that publish and/or analyze such information in connection with the process of purchasing or redeeming Creation Units or trading shares of the Funds in the secondary market or evaluating such potential transactions. This information typically reflects each Fund’s anticipated holdings on the following business day.
Daily access to information concerning the Funds' portfolio holdings is permitted: (i) to certain personnel of those service providers that are involved in portfolio management and providing administrative, operational, risk management, or other support to portfolio management; and (ii) to other personnel of BFA, the Distributor and their affiliates, and the administrator, custodian and fund accountant who deal directly with, or assist in, functions related to investment management, distribution, administration, custody, securities lending and fund accounting, as may be necessary to conduct business in the ordinary course in a manner consistent with federal securities laws and regulations thereunder. In addition, each Fund discloses its fixed-income and/or equity portfolio holdings daily at www.iShares.com. More information about this disclosure is available at www.iShares.com.
Portfolio holdings information made available in connection with the creation/redemption process may be provided to other entities that provide services to the Funds in the ordinary course of business after it has been disseminated to the NSCC. From time to time, information concerning portfolio holdings other than portfolio holdings information made available in connection with the creation/redemption process, as discussed above, may be provided to other entities that provide services to the Funds, including rating or ranking organizations, in the ordinary course of business, no earlier than one business day following the date of the information.
Each Fund discloses its complete portfolio holdings schedule in public filings with the SEC within 70 days of the end of the second and fourth fiscal quarters and within 60 days of the end of the first and third fiscal quarters and will provide such information to shareholders as required by federal securities laws and regulations thereunder. A Fund may, however, voluntarily disclose all or part of its portfolio holdings other than in connection with the creation/redemption process, as discussed above, in advance of required filings with the SEC, provided that such information is made generally available to all shareholders and other interested parties in a manner that is consistent with the above policy for disclosure of portfolio holdings information. Such information may be made available through a publicly available website or other means that make the information available to all likely interested parties contemporaneously.
The Trust's Chief Compliance Officer or his delegate may authorize disclosure of portfolio holdings information pursuant to the above policy and procedures, subject to restrictions on selective disclosure imposed by applicable law.
The Board reviews the policy and procedures for disclosure of portfolio holdings information at least annually.
Construction and Maintenance of the Underlying Index
Descriptions of the Underlying Indexes are provided below.
With respect to certain underlying indexes of the iShares funds, BFA or its affiliates have held discussions with the applicable index provider regarding their business interest in licensing an index to track a particular market segment and conveyed investment concepts and strategies that could be considered for the index. The index provider designed and constituted the index using concepts conveyed by BFA or its affiliates. For certain of these indices, the relevant fund may be the first or sole user of the underlying index. In its sole discretion, the index provider determines the composition of the securities and other instruments in such underlying index, the rebalance protocols of the underlying index, the weightings of the securities and other instruments in the underlying index, and any updates to the methodology. From time to time, BFA or its affiliates may
22

 


also provide input relating to possible methodology changes of such underlying index pursuant to the index provider’s consultation process or pursuant to other communications with the index provider.
The Bloomberg Barclays Indexes
The Bloomberg Barclays Indexes are maintained by Bloomberg Index Services Limited, which is not affiliated with BFA. BFA will have no role in maintaining the Underlying Indexes.
Bloomberg Barclays December 2019 Maturity Corporate Index
Number of Components: approximately 493
Index Description. The iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2019, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds scheduled to mature after December 31, 2018 and before December 16, 2019.
The Underlying Index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of corporate bonds issued by companies domiciled in developed countries. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act with registration rights. In addition, to be included in the index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies below must be rated “investment grade” by at least two of the agencies, which is defined as Baa3 or higher by Moody’s or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch. When ratings from only two of these agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment grade or are excluded from the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. A parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until one year prior to December 15, 2019. During this final one year period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded below investment grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds which are screened from the parent index due to being within one year to maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity.
When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2019, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Bloomberg Barclays December 2020 Maturity Corporate Index
Number of Components: approximately 548
Index Description. The iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2020, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds scheduled to mature after December 31, 2019 and before December 16, 2020.
The Underlying Index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of corporate bonds issued by companies domiciled in developed countries.
23

 


The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act with registration rights. In addition, to be included in the index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies below must be rated “investment grade” by at least two of the agencies, which is defined as Baa3 or higher by Moody’s or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch. When ratings from only two of these agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment grade or are excluded from the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. A parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until six months prior to maturity. The last rebalance date will be on June 30, 2020. During this final six month period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded below investment grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds which are screened from the parent index due to being within one year to maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity.
When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2020, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Bloomberg Barclays December 2021 Maturity Corporate Index
Number of Components: approximately 573
Index Description. The iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2021, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds scheduled to mature after December 31, 2020 and before December 16, 2021.
The Underlying Index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of corporate bonds issued by companies domiciled in developed countries. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act with registration rights. In addition, to be included in the index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies below must be rated “investment grade” by at least two of the agencies, which is defined as Baa3 or higher by Moody’s or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch. When ratings from only two of these agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment grade or are excluded from the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. A parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until six months prior to maturity. The last rebalance date will be on June 30, 2021. During this final six month period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded below investment grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds which are screened from the parent index due to being within one year to maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity.
24

 


When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2021, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Bloomberg Barclays December 2022 Maturity Corporate Index
Number of Components: approximately 533
Index Description. The iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2022, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds scheduled to mature after December 31, 2021 and before December 16, 2022.
The Underlying Index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of corporate bonds issued by companies domiciled in developed countries. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act with registration rights. In addition, to be included in the index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies below must be rated “investment grade” by at least two of the agencies, which is defined as Baa3 or higher by Moody’s or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch. When ratings from only two of these agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment grade or are excluded from the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. A parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until six months prior to maturity. The last rebalance date will be on June 30, 2022. During this final six month period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded below investment grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds which are screened from the parent index due to being within one year to maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity.
When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2022, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Bloomberg Barclays December 2023 Maturity Corporate Index
Number of Components: approximately 484
Index Description. The iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2023, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds scheduled to mature after December 31, 2022 and before December 16, 2023.
The Underlying Index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of corporate bonds issued by companies domiciled in developed countries. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under
25

 


the 1933 Act with registration rights. In addition, to be included in the index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies below must be rated “investment grade” by at least two of the agencies, which is defined as Baa3 or higher by Moody’s or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch. When ratings from only two of these agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment grade or are excluded from the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. A parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until six months prior to maturity. The last rebalance date will be on June 30, 2023. During this final six month period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded below investment grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds which are screened from the parent index due to being within one year to maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity.
When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2023, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Bloomberg Barclays December 2024 Maturity Corporate Index
Number of Components: approximately 349
Index Description. The iShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2024, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds scheduled to mature after December 31, 2023 and before December 16, 2024.
The Underlying Index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of corporate bonds issued by companies domiciled in developed countries. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act with registration rights. In addition, to be included in the index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies below must be rated “investment grade” by at least two of the agencies, which is defined as Baa3 or higher by Moody’s or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch. When ratings from only two of these agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment grade or are excluded from the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. A parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until six months prior to maturity. The last rebalance date will be on June 30, 2024. During this final six month period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded below investment grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds which are screened from the parent index due to being within one year to maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity.
When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of
26

 


money market or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2024, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Bloomberg Barclays December 2025 Maturity Corporate Index
Number of Components: approximately 367
Index Description. The iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2025, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds scheduled to mature after December 31, 2024 and before December 16, 2025.
The Underlying Index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of corporate bonds issued by companies domiciled in developed countries. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act with registration rights. In addition, to be included in the index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies below must be rated “investment grade” by at least two of the agencies, which is defined as Baa3 or higher by Moody’s or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch. When ratings from only two of these agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment grade or are excluded from the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. A parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until six months prior to maturity. The last rebalance date will be on June 30, 2025. During this final six month period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded below investment grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds which are screened from the parent index due to being within one year to maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity.
When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2025, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Bloomberg Barclays December 2026 Maturity Corporate Index
Number of Components: approximately 337
Index Description. The iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2026, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds scheduled to mature after December 31, 2025 and before December 16, 2026.
The Underlying Index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of corporate bonds issued by companies domiciled in developed countries. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act with registration rights. In addition, to be included in the index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies below must be rated “investment grade” by at least two of the agencies, which is defined as Baa3 or higher by
27

 


Moody’s or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch. When ratings from only two of these agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. When a rating from only one agency is available, that rating is used to determine index eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment grade or are excluded from the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. The parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until six months prior to maturity. The last rebalance date will be on June 30, 2026. During this final six month period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded below investment grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds which are screened from the parent index due to being within one year to maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity.
When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2026, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Bloomberg Barclays December 2027 Maturity Corporate Index
Number of Components: approximately 308
Index Description. The iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2027, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds scheduled to mature after December 31, 2026 and before December 16, 2027.
The Underlying Index consists of U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of companies domiciled in developed countries. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond included in the Underlying Index must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act with registration rights. Further, the securities in the Underlying Index must be denominated in U.S. dollars and have a fixed-rate, although they can carry a coupon that steps-up or changes according to a predetermined schedule. In addition, to be included in the Underlying Index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies named below must be rated “investment-grade” by at least two of the three rating agencies, which is defined as Baa3 or higher by Moody’s or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch. When ratings from only two of the three rating agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment-grade in order to be included in the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. The parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds that mature in 2027 but had been screened out of the parent index due to being within one year of maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the Underlying Index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the Underlying Index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until six months prior to maturity. The last rebalance date will be on June 30, 2027. During this final six month period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded to below investment-grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period, existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value.
28

 


When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2027, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Bloomberg Barclays December 2028 Maturity Corporate Index
Number of Components: approximately 276
Index Description. The iShares iBonds Dec 2028 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2028, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds scheduled to mature after December 31, 2027 and before December 16, 2028.
The Underlying Index consists of U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of companies domiciled in developed countries. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond included in the Underlying Index must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act with registration rights. Further, the securities in the Underlying Index must be denominated in U.S. dollars and have a fixed-rate, although they can carry a coupon that steps-up or changes according to a predetermined schedule. In addition, to be included in the Underlying Index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies named below must be rated “investment-grade” by at least two of the three rating agencies, which is defined as Baa3 or higher by Moody’s or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch. When ratings from only two of the three rating agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment-grade in order to be included in the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. The parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds that mature in 2028 but had been screened out of the parent index due to being within one year of maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the Underlying Index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the Underlying Index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until six months prior to maturity. The last rebalance date will be on June 30, 2028. During this final six month period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded to below investment-grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period, existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value.
When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2028, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Bloomberg Barclays 2020 Maturity Corporate Index
Number of Components: approximately 401
Index Description. The iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about March 31, 2020, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds scheduled to mature after March 31, 2019 and before April 1, 2020.
The Underlying Index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers, that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers
29

 


included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of corporate bonds issued by companies domiciled in developed countries. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, with registration rights. In addition, to be included in the index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies below must be rated “investment-grade” by at least two of the three rating agencies, as defined as Baa3 or higher by Moody’s or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch. When ratings from only two of these agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment-grade to be included in the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. A parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until one year prior to March 31, 2020. During this final one year period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded below investment grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds which are screened from the parent index due to being within one year to maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity.
When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, either directly, or through its holdings of the Underlying Funds, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By March 31, 2020, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Bloomberg Barclays 2023 Maturity Corporate Index
Number of Components: approximately 354
Index Description. The iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF is a term fund that will terminate on or about March 31, 2023, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Underlying Index is composed of U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds scheduled to mature after March 31, 2022 and before April 1, 2023.
The Underlying Index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. corporate issuers, that have $300 million or more of outstanding face value at the time of inclusion. The non-U.S. corporate issuers included in the Underlying Index consist primarily of corporate bonds issued by companies domiciled in developed countries. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. issuers to the extent necessary for it to track the Underlying Index. Each bond must be registered with the SEC, have been exempt from registration at issuance, or have been offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, with registration rights. In addition, to be included in the index, securities that are rated by all three of the rating agencies below must be rated “investment-grade” by at least two of the three rating agencies, as defined as Baa3 or higher by Moody’s or BBB- or higher by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch. When ratings from only two of these agencies are available, the lower rating is used to determine eligibility. Securities with a rating from only one of the three ratings agencies must be rated investment-grade to be included in the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is constructed with the following methodology. A parent index, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, representing U.S. dollar-denominated, taxable, investment-grade corporate bonds, is stripped of securities maturing outside of the maturity range defined above. Securities are then market-cap weighted within the index, with a 3% cap on any one issuer, and a pro rata distribution of any excess weight across the remaining issuers in the index. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until one year prior to March 31, 2023. During this final one year period, the Underlying Index will no longer be updated or rebalanced, except to remove securities which are downgraded below investment grade per the eligibility criteria described above. Additionally, during this period existing bond weights will be allowed to float based on changes in market value. During the final two years of the Underlying Index, bonds which are screened from the parent index due to being within one year to maturity will be added back into the Underlying Index until such bonds reach maturity.
30

 


When a bond that is included in the Underlying Index matures, its maturity value will be represented in the Underlying Index by cash throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, either directly, or through its holdings of the Underlying Funds, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By March 31, 2023, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Investment Policies
The Board has adopted as fundamental policies the following numbered investment restrictions, which cannot be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities. A vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of a Fund is defined in the Investment Company Act as the lesser of (i) 67% or more of the voting securities present at a shareholder meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund are present or represented by proxy, or (ii) more than 50% of outstanding voting securities of the Fund. Each Fund has also adopted certain non-fundamental investment policies, including its investment objective. Non-fundamental investment policies may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval. Therefore, each Fund may change its investment objective and its Underlying Index without shareholder approval.
Fundamental Investment Policies
Each Fund may not:
1. Concentrate its investments in a particular industry, as that term is used in the Investment Company Act, except that the Fund will concentrate to approximately the same extent that its Underlying Index concentrates in the securities of a particular industry or group of industries.
2. Borrow money, except as permitted under the Investment Company Act.
3. Issue senior securities to the extent such issuance would violate the Investment Company Act.
4. Purchase or hold real estate, except the Fund may purchase and hold securities or other instruments that are secured by, or linked to, real estate or interests therein, securities of REITs, mortgage-related securities and securities of issuers engaged in the real estate business, and the Fund may purchase and hold real estate as a result of the ownership of securities or other instruments.
5. Underwrite securities issued by others, except to the extent that the sale of portfolio securities by the Fund may be deemed to be an underwriting or as otherwise permitted by applicable law.
6. Purchase or sell commodities or commodity contracts, except as permitted by the Investment Company Act.
7. Make loans to the extent prohibited by the Investment Company Act.
Notations Regarding each Fund’s Fundamental Investment Policies
The following notations are not considered to be part of each Fund’s fundamental investment policies and are subject to change without shareholder approval.
With respect to the fundamental policy relating to concentration set forth in (1) above, the Investment Company Act does not define what constitutes “concentration” in an industry. The Commission staff has taken the position that investment of 25% or more of a fund’s total assets in one or more issuers conducting their principal activities in the same industry or group of industries constitutes concentration. It is possible that interpretations of concentration could change in the future. The policy in (1) above will be interpreted to refer to concentration as that term may be interpreted from time to time. The policy also will be interpreted to permit investment without limit in the following: securities of the U.S. government and its agencies or instrumentalities; securities of state, territory, possession or municipal governments and their authorities, agencies, instrumentalities or political subdivisions; and repurchase agreements collateralized by any such obligations. Accordingly, issuers of the foregoing securities will not be considered to be members of any industry. There also will be no limit on investment in issuers domiciled in a single jurisdiction or country. Finance companies will be considered to be in the industries of their parents if their activities are primarily related to financing the activities of the parents. Each foreign government will be considered to be a member of a separate industry. With respect to the Fund’s industry classifications, the Fund currently utilizes any one or more of the industry sub-classifications used by one or more widely recognized market indexes or rating group indexes, and/or as defined by Fund management. The policy also will be interpreted to give broad authority to the Fund as to how to classify issuers within or among industries.
31


With respect to the fundamental policy relating to borrowing money set forth in (2) above, the Investment Company Act permits the Fund to borrow money in amounts of up to one-third of the Fund’s total assets from banks for any purpose, and to borrow up to 5% of the Fund’s total assets from banks or other lenders for temporary purposes. (The Fund’s total assets include the amounts being borrowed.) To limit the risks attendant to borrowing, the Investment Company Act requires the Fund to maintain at all times an “asset coverage” of at least 300% of the amount of its borrowings. Asset coverage means the ratio that the value of the Fund’s total assets (including amounts borrowed), minus liabilities other than borrowings, bears to the aggregate amount of all borrowings. Borrowing money to increase portfolio holdings is known as “leveraging.” Certain trading practices and investments, such as reverse repurchase agreements, may be considered to be borrowings or involve leverage and thus are subject to the Investment Company Act restrictions. In accordance with Commission staff guidance and interpretations, when the Fund engages in such transactions, the Fund instead of maintaining asset coverage of at least 300%, may segregate or earmark liquid assets, or enter into an offsetting position, in an amount at least equal to the Fund’s exposure, on a mark-to-market basis, to the transaction (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the Commission). The policy in (2) above will be interpreted to permit the Fund to engage in trading practices and investments that may be considered to be borrowing or to involve leverage to the extent permitted by the Investment Company Act and to permit the Fund to segregate or earmark liquid assets or enter into offsetting positions in accordance with the Investment Company Act. Short-term credits necessary for the settlement of securities transactions and arrangements with respect to securities lending will not be considered to be borrowings under the policy. Practices and investments that may involve leverage but are not considered to be borrowings are not subject to the policy.
With respect to the fundamental policy relating to underwriting set forth in (5) above, the Investment Company Act does not prohibit the Fund from engaging in the underwriting business or from underwriting the securities of other issuers; in fact, in the case of diversified funds, the Investment Company Act permits the Fund to have underwriting commitments of up to 25% of its assets under certain circumstances. Those circumstances currently are that the amount of the Fund’s underwriting commitments, when added to the value of the Fund’s investments in issuers where the Fund owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of those issuers, cannot exceed the 25% cap. A fund engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities may be considered to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act. Although it is not believed that the application of the Securities Act provisions described above would cause the Fund to be engaged in the business of underwriting, the policy in (5) above will be interpreted not to prevent the Fund from engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities, regardless of whether the Fund may be considered to be an underwriter under the Securities Act or is otherwise engaged in the underwriting business to the extent permitted by applicable law.
With respect to the fundamental policy relating to lending set forth in (7) above, the Investment Company Act does not prohibit the Fund from making loans (including lending its securities); however, Commission staff interpretations currently prohibit funds from lending more than one-third of their total assets (including lending its securities), except through the purchase of debt obligations or the use of repurchase agreements. In addition, collateral arrangements with respect to options, forward currency and futures transactions and other derivative instruments (as applicable), as well as delays in the settlement of securities transactions, will not be considered loans.
Non-Fundamental Investment Policies
Each Fund has adopted a non-fundamental investment policy not to make short sales of securities or maintain a short position, except to the extent permitted by each Fund's Prospectus and SAI, as amended from time to time, and applicable law.
Each Fund has adopted a non-fundamental investment policy in accordance with Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act to invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in the component securities of its respective Underlying Index. Each Fund also has adopted a policy to provide its shareholders with at least 60 days’ prior written notice of any change in such policy. If, subsequent to an investment, an 80% requirement is no longer met, a Fund’s future investments will be made in a manner that will bring the Fund into compliance with this policy.
Each Fund has adopted a non-fundamental policy such that, under normal market conditions, any borrowings by the Fund will not exceed 10% of the Fund’s net assets.
The iShares iBonds Dec 2019 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF, iShares
32

 


iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF, iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF and iShares iBonds Dec 2028 Term Corporate ETF may not:
Provided that such policy will only be in effect if the Fund does not invest its assets in reliance on Section 12(d)(1)(G) in an Underlying Fund: Purchase securities of other investment companies, except to the extent permitted by the Investment Company Act. As a matter of policy, however, the Fund will not purchase shares of any registered open-end investment company or registered unit investment trust, in reliance on Section 12(d)(1)(F) or (G) (the “fund of funds” provisions) of the Investment Company Act, at any time the Fund has knowledge that its shares are purchased by another investment company investor in reliance on the provisions of subparagraph (G) of Section 12(d)(1).
Although the SEC has granted an exemptive order to the Trust permitting registered investment companies and unit investment trusts that enter into a participation agreement with the Trust (“Investing Funds”) to invest in iShares Funds beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act subject to certain terms and conditions, the exemptive order is not applicable to the iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF and iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF. Accordingly, Investing Funds must adhere to the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act when investing in the iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF and iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF.
Unless otherwise indicated, all limitations under each Fund's fundamental or non-fundamental investment policies apply only at the time that a transaction is undertaken. Any change in the percentage of a Fund's assets invested in certain securities or other instruments resulting from market fluctuations or other changes in a Fund’s total assets will not require a Fund to dispose of an investment until BFA determines that it is practicable to sell or close out the investment without undue market or tax consequences.
Continuous Offering
The method by which Creation Units are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Units are issued and sold by the Funds on an ongoing basis, at any point a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may occur. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner that could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the 1933 Act.
For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Units after placing an order with the Distributor, breaks them down into constituent shares and sells such shares directly to customers or if it chooses to couple the creation of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the 1933 Act must take into account all of the facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker-dealer or its client in the particular case and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a categorization as an underwriter.
Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, generally are required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(a)(3) of the 1933 Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares of the Funds are reminded that, pursuant to Rule 153 under the 1933 Act, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the 1933 Act owed to an exchange member in connection with a sale on the Listing Exchange generally is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available at the Listing Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is available only with respect to transactions on an exchange.
Management
Trustees and Officers.  The Board has responsibility for the overall management and operations of the Funds, including general supervision of the duties performed by BFA and other service providers. Each Trustee serves until he or she resigns, is removed, dies, retires or becomes incapacitated. Each officer shall hold office until his or her successor is elected and qualifies or until his or her death, resignation or removal. Trustees who are not “interested persons” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust are referred to as independent trustees (“Independent Trustees”).
33

 


The registered investment companies advised by BFA or its affiliates (the “BlackRock-advised Funds”) are organized into one complex of closed-end funds, two complexes of open-end funds and one complex of ETFs (“Exchange-Traded Fund Complex”) (each, a “BlackRock Fund Complex”). Each Fund is included in the BlackRock Fund Complex referred to as the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex. Each Trustee also serves as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust and, as a result, oversees all of the funds within the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex, which consists of 344 funds as of March 1, 2019. With the exception of Robert S. Kapito, Mark K. Wiedman, Charles Park, Martin Small and Benjamin Archibald, the address of each Trustee and officer is c/o BlackRock, Inc., 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. The address of Mr. Kapito, Mr. Wiedman, Mr. Park, Mr. Small and Mr. Archibald is c/o BlackRock, Inc., Park Avenue Plaza, 55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10055. The Board has designated Cecilia H. Herbert as its Independent Board Chair. Additional information about the Funds' Trustees and officers may be found in this SAI, which is available without charge, upon request, by calling toll-free 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737).
Interested Trustees
Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
  Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Robert S. Kapito1
(62)
  Trustee
(since 2009).
  President, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2006); Vice Chairman of BlackRock, Inc. and Head of BlackRock’s Portfolio Management Group (since its formation in 1998) and BlackRock, Inc.’s predecessor entities (since 1988); Trustee, University of Pennsylvania (since 2009); President of Board of Directors, Hope & Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund (since 2002).   Director of BlackRock, Inc. (since 2006); Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2009); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011).
Mark K. Wiedman2
(48)
  Trustee (since 2013).   Senior Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2014); Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (2007-2014); Global Head of BlackRock’s ETF and Index Investments Business (since 2016); Global Head of iShares (2011-2016); Head of Corporate Strategy, BlackRock, Inc. (2009-2011).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2013); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2013); Director of PennyMac Financial Services, Inc. (since 2008).

1 Robert S. Kapito is deemed to be an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust due to his affiliations with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates.
2 Mark K. Wiedman is deemed to be an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust due to his affiliations with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates.
34

 


Independent Trustees
Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
  Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Cecilia H. Herbert
(69)
  Trustee
(since 2005); Independent Board Chair
(since 2016).
  Chair of the Finance Committee (since 2019) and Trustee and Member of the Finance, Technology and Quality Committees of Stanford Health Care (since 2016); Member of Audit Committee (since 2018) and Trustee and Member of the Investment Committee, WNET, a New York public media company (since 2011); Chair (1994-2005) and Member (since 1992) of the Investment Committee, Archdiocese of San Francisco; Trustee of Forward Funds (14 portfolios) (2009-2018); Trustee of Salient MF Trust (4 portfolios) (2015-2018); Director (1998-2013) and President (2007-2011) of the Board of Directors, Catholic Charities CYO; Trustee (2002-2011) and Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee (2006-2010) of the Thacher School.
  Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2005); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011); Independent Board Chair of iShares, Inc. and iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2016); Trustee of Thrivent Church Loan and Income Fund (since 2019).
Jane D. Carlin
(63)
  Trustee
(since 2015); Risk Committee Chair (since 2016).
  Consultant (since 2012); Member of the Audit Committee (2012-2018), Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee (2017-2018) and Director of PHH Corporation (mortgage solutions) (since 2012); Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Holding Company Governance & Assurance and the Global Head of Operational Risk Management of Morgan Stanley (2006-2012).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2015); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2015); Member of the Audit Committee (since 2016) and Director of The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. (since 2016).
Richard L. Fagnani
(64)
  Trustee
(since 2017); Audit Committee Chair (since 2019).
  Partner, KPMG LLP (2002-2016).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2017); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2017).
John E. Kerrigan
(63)
  Trustee
(since 2005); Nominating and Governance and Equity Plus Committee Chairs
(since 2019).
  Chief Investment Officer, Santa Clara University (since 2002).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2005); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011).
35


Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
  Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Drew E. Lawton
(59)
  Trustee
(since 2017); 15(c) Committee Chair (since 2017).
  Senior Managing Director of New York Life Insurance Company (2010-2015).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2017); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2017).
John E. Martinez
(57)
  Trustee
(since 2003);
Securities Lending Committee Chair
(since 2019).
  Director of Real Estate Equity Exchange, Inc. (since 2005); Director of Cloudera Foundation (since 2017); and Director of Reading Partners (2012-2016).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2003); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011).
Madhav V. Rajan
(54)
  Trustee
(since 2011); Fixed Income Plus Committee Chair (since 2019).
  Dean, and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting, University of Chicago Booth School of Business (since 2017); Robert K. Jaedicke Professor of Accounting, Stanford University Graduate School of Business (2001-2017); Professor of Law (by courtesy), Stanford Law School (2005-2017); Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Head of MBA Program, Stanford University Graduate School of Business (2010-2016).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2011);
Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011).
Officers
Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
Martin Small
(43)
  President (since 2016).   Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2010); Head of U.S. iShares (since 2015); Co-Head of the U.S. Financial Markets Advisory Group, BlackRock, Inc. (2008-2014).
Jack Gee
(59)
  Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer
(since 2008).
  Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2009); Senior Director of Fund Administration of Intermediary Investor Business, BGI (2009).
Charles Park
(51)
  Chief Compliance Officer (since 2006).   Chief Compliance Officer of BlackRock Advisors, LLC and the BlackRock-advised Funds in the Equity-Bond Complex, the Equity-Liquidity Complex and the Closed-End Complex (since 2014); Chief Compliance Officer of BFA (since 2006).
Benjamin Archibald
(43)
  Secretary (since 2015).   Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2014); Director, BlackRock, Inc. (2010-2013); Secretary of the BlackRock-advised mutual funds (since 2012).
36

 


Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
Steve Messinger
(56)
  Executive Vice President
(since 2016).
  Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (2007-2014 and since 2016); Managing Director, Beacon Consulting Group (2014-2016).
Scott Radell
(50)
  Executive Vice President
(since 2012).
  Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2009); Head of Portfolio Solutions, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2009).
Alan Mason
(58)
  Executive Vice President
(since 2016).
  Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2009).
The Board has concluded that, based on each Trustee’s experience, qualifications, attributes or skills on an individual basis and in combination with those of the other Trustees, each Trustee should serve as a Trustee of the Board. Among the attributes common to all Trustees are their ability to review critically, evaluate, question and discuss information provided to them, to interact effectively with the Funds' investment adviser, other service providers, counsel and the independent registered public accounting firm, and to exercise effective business judgment in the performance of their duties as Trustees. A Trustee’s ability to perform his or her duties effectively may have been attained through the Trustee’s educational background or professional training; business, consulting, public service or academic positions; experience from service as a Board member of the Funds and the other funds in the Trust (and any predecessor funds), other investment funds, public companies, or non-profit entities or other organizations; and/or other life experiences. Also, set forth below is a brief discussion of the specific experience, qualifications, attributes or skills of each Trustee that led the Board to conclude that he or she should serve (or continue to serve) as a Trustee.
Robert S. Kapito has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2009. Mr. Kapito has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2009, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011 and a Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2006. Mr. Kapito served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 to 2015. In addition, he has over 20 years of experience as part of BlackRock, Inc. and BlackRock’s predecessor entities. Mr. Kapito serves as President of BlackRock, Inc., and is a member of the Global Executive Committee and Chairman of the Global Operating Committee. He is responsible for day-to-day oversight of BlackRock's key operating units, including Investment Strategies, Client Businesses, Technology & Operations, and Risk & Quantitative Analysis. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities in 2007, Mr. Kapito served as Vice Chairman of BlackRock, Inc. and Head of BlackRock's Portfolio Management Group. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing all portfolio management within BlackRock, including the Fixed Income, Equity, Liquidity, and Alternative Investment Groups. Mr. Kapito serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and the Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors. He has also been President of the Board of Directors for the Hope & Heroes Children's Cancer Fund since 2002. Mr. Kapito earned a BS degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1979, and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School in 1983.
Mark K. Wiedman has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2013. Mr. Wiedman has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2013. Mr. Wiedman served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2013 to 2015. Mr. Wiedman is the Global Head of BlackRock’s ETF and Index Investments Business and Senior Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. In addition, he is a member of BlackRock's Global Executive Committee. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities in 2016, Mr. Wiedman was the Global Head of iShares. Mr. Wiedman was previously the head of Corporate Strategy for BlackRock. Mr. Wiedman joined BlackRock in 2004 to help start the advisory business, which evolved into the Financial Markets Advisory Group in BlackRock Solutions. This group advises financial institutions and governments on managing their capital markets exposures and businesses. Prior to BlackRock, he served as senior advisor and chief of staff for the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and also was a management consultant at McKinsey & Co., advising financial institutions in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He has taught as an adjunct associate professor of law at Fordham University in New York and Renmin University in Beijing. Mr. Wiedman serves on the board of PennyMac Financial Services, Inc., a publicly-traded U.S. mortgage banking and investment management firm started in 2008, with BlackRock, Inc. as a sponsor. Mr. Wiedman earned an AB degree, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, in social studies from Harvard College in 1992 and a JD degree from Yale Law School in 1996.
37

 


Cecilia H. Herbert has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2005 and Chair of the Trust's Board since 2016. Ms. Herbert has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2005, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, and Chair of each Board since 2016. Ms. Herbert served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 to 2015. In addition, Ms. Herbert served as Trustee of the Forward Funds from 2009 to 2018. She also served as Trustee of Salient Funds from 2015 to 2018. She has served since 1992 on the Investment Council of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and was Chair from 1994 to 2005. She has served as a member of the Finance, Technology and Quality Committees and Trustee of Stanford Health Care since 2016 and became Chair of the Finance Committee of Stanford Health Care in 2019. She has served as an Audit Committee member (since 2018) and Trustee of WNET, New York’s public media station, since 2011. She became a member of the Governing Council of the Independent Directors Forum in 2018 and joined the board of Thrivent Church Loan and Income Fund in 2019. She was President of the Board of Catholic Charities CYO, the largest social services agency in the San Francisco Bay Area, from 2007 to 2011 and a member of that board from 1992 to 2013. She previously served as Trustee of the Pacific Select Funds from 2004 to 2005 and Trustee of the Montgomery Funds from 1992 to 2003. She worked from 1973 to 1990 at J.P. Morgan/Morgan Guaranty Trust doing international corporate finance and corporate lending, retiring as Managing Director and Head of the West Coast Office. Ms. Herbert has been on numerous non-profit boards, chairing investment and finance committees. She holds a double major in economics and communications from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Jane D. Carlin has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2015 and Chair of the Risk Committee since 2016. Ms. Carlin has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2015, and Chair of the Risk Committee of each Board since 2016. Ms. Carlin has served as a consultant since 2012 and formerly served as Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Holding Company Governance & Assurance and the Global Head of Operational Risk Management of Morgan Stanley from 2006 to 2012. In addition, Ms. Carlin served as Managing Director and Global Head of the Bank Operational Risk Oversight Department of Credit Suisse Group from 2003 to 2006. Prior to that, Ms. Carlin served as Managing Director and Deputy General Counsel of Morgan Stanley. Ms. Carlin has over 30 years of experience in the financial sector and has served in a number of legal, regulatory, and risk management positions. Ms. Carlin has served as a member of the Audit Committee (since 2016) and as a Director of The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. since 2016. Ms. Carlin served as a member of the Audit Committee (2012-2018), Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee (2017-2018) and as an Independent Director on the Board of PHH Corporation from 2012-2018. She previously served as a Director on the Boards of Astoria Financial Corporation and Astoria Bank. Ms. Carlin was appointed by the United States Treasury to the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security, where she served as Chairperson from 2010 to 2012 and Vice Chair and Chair of the Cyber Security Committee from 2009 to 2010. Ms. Carlin has a BA degree in political science from State University of New York at Stony Brook and a JD degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Richard L. Fagnani has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2017 and Chair of the Audit Committee of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Fagnani has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2017, and Chair of the Audit Committee of each Board since 2019. Mr. Fagnani served as an Advisory Board Member of the Trust, iShares U.S. ETF Trust and iShares, Inc. from April 2017 to June 2017. Mr. Fagnani served as a Senior Audit Partner at KPMG LLP from 2002 to 2016, most recently as the U.S. asset management audit practice leader responsible for setting strategic direction and execution of the operating plan for the asset management audit practice. In addition, from 1977 to 2002, Mr. Fagnani served as an Audit Partner at Andersen LLP, where he developed and managed the asset management audit practice. Mr. Fagnani served as a Trustee on the Board of the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia from 2009 to 2014 and as a member of the School of Business Advisory Board at LaSalle University from 2006 to 2014. Mr. Fagnani has a BS degree in Accounting from LaSalle University.
John E. Kerrigan has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2005 and Chair of the Equity Plus and Nominating and Governance Committees of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Kerrigan has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2005, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, and Chair of the Equity Plus and Nominating and Governance Committees of each Board since 2019. Mr. Kerrigan served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 to 2015. Mr. Kerrigan has served as Chief Investment Officer of Santa Clara University since 2002. Mr. Kerrigan was formerly a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch & Co., including the following responsibilities: Managing Director, Institutional Client Division, Western United States. Mr. Kerrigan has been a Director, since 1999, of The BASIC Fund (Bay Area Scholarships for Inner City Children). Mr. Kerrigan has a BA degree from Boston College and is a Chartered Financial Analyst Charterholder.
Drew E. Lawton has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2017 and Chair of the 15(c) Committee of the Trust since 2017. Mr. Lawton has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc., a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust, and Chair of the 15(c) Committee of
38

 


each Board since 2017. Mr. Lawton also served as an Advisory Board Member of the Trust, iShares, Inc. and iShares U.S. ETF Trust from 2016 to 2017. Mr. Lawton served as Director of Principal Funds, Inc., Principal Variable Contracts Funds, Inc. and Principal Exchange-Traded Funds from March 2016 to October 2016. Mr. Lawton served in various capacities at New York Life Insurance Company from 2010 to 2015, most recently as a Senior Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of New York Life Investment Management. From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Lawton was the President of Fridson Investment Advisors, LLC. Mr. Lawton previously held multiple roles at Fidelity Investments from 1997 to 2008. Mr. Lawton has a BA degree in Administrative Science from Yale University and an MBA from University of North Texas.
John E. Martinez has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2003 and Chair of the Securities Lending Committee of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Martinez has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2003, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, and Chair of the Securities Lending Committee of each Board since 2019. Mr. Martinez served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 to 2015. Mr. Martinez is a Director of Real Estate Equity Exchange, Inc., providing governance oversight and consulting services to this privately held firm that develops products and strategies for homeowners in managing the equity in their homes. Mr. Martinez currently serves as a Board member for the Cloudera Foundation, whose mission is to apply Cloudera’s data science expertise and discipline to solve global social problems. Mr. Martinez previously served as Director of Barclays Global Investors (“BGI”) UK Holdings, where he provided governance oversight representing BGI’s shareholders (Barclays PLC, BGI management shareholders) through oversight of BGI’s worldwide activities. Mr. Martinez also previously served as Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Global Index and Markets Group of BGI, Chairman of Barclays Global Investor Services and Chief Executive Officer of the Capital Markets Group of BGI. From 2003 to 2012, he was a Director and Executive Committee Member for Larkin Street Youth Services, providing governance oversight and strategy development to an agency that provides emergency and transitional housing, healthcare, education, job and life skills training to homeless youth. He now serves on the Larkin Street Honorary Board. From 2012 to 2016, Mr. Martinez served as a Director for Reading Partners, an organization committed to making all children literate through one-on-one tutoring of students in grades K-4 who are not yet reading at grade level. Mr. Martinez has an AB degree in economics from The University of California, Berkeley and holds an MBA degree in finance and statistics from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Madhav V. Rajan has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011 and Chair of the Fixed Income Plus Committee of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Rajan has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, and Chair of the Fixed Income Plus Committee of each Board since 2019. Mr. Rajan served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2011 to 2015. Mr. Rajan is the Dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. From 2001 to 2017, Mr. Rajan was the Robert K. Jaedicke Professor of Accounting at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. In April 2017, he received the school’s Robert T. Davis Award for Lifetime Achievement and Service. He has taught accounting for over 25 years to undergraduate, MBA and law students, as well as to senior executives. From 2010 to 2016, Mr. Rajan served as the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and head of the MBA Program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Mr. Rajan served as editor of “The Accounting Review” from 2002 to 2008 and is co-author of “Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis,” a leading cost accounting textbook. From 2013 to 2018, Mr. Rajan served on the Board of Directors of Cavium Inc., a semiconductor company. Mr. Rajan holds MS and PhD degrees in Accounting from Carnegie Mellon University.
Board – Leadership Structure and Oversight Responsibilities
Overall responsibility for oversight of the Funds rests with the Board. The Board has engaged BFA to manage the Funds on a day-to-day basis. The Board is responsible for overseeing BFA and other service providers in the operations of the Funds in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Act, applicable provisions of state and other laws and the Trust’s charter. The Board is currently composed of ten members, eight of whom are Independent Trustees. The Board currently conducts regular in person meetings four times a year. In addition, the Board frequently holds special in person or telephonic meetings or informal conference calls to discuss specific matters that may arise or require action between regular meetings. The Independent Trustees meet regularly outside the presence of management, in executive session or with other service providers to the Trust.
The Board has appointed an Independent Trustee to serve in the role of Board Chair. The Board Chair’s role is to preside at all meetings of the Board and to act as a liaison with service providers, officers, attorneys, and other Trustees generally between meetings. The Board Chair may also perform such other functions as may be delegated by the Board from time to time. The Board has established seven standing Committees: a Nominating and Governance Committee, an Audit Committee, a 15(c) Committee, a Securities Lending Committee, a Risk Committee, an Equity Plus Committee and a Fixed Income Plus
39

 


Committee to assist the Board in the oversight and direction of the business and affairs of the Funds, and from time to time the Board may establish ad hoc committees or informal working groups to review and address the policies and practices of the Funds with respect to certain specified matters. The Chair of each standing Committee is an Independent Trustee. The role of the Chair of each Committee is to preside at all meetings of the Committee and to act as a liaison with service providers, officers, attorneys and other Trustees between meetings. Each standing Committee meets regularly to conduct the oversight functions delegated to the Committee by the Board and reports its finding to the Board. The Board and each standing Committee conduct annual assessments of their oversight function and structure. The Board has determined that the Board’s leadership structure is appropriate because it allows the Board to exercise independent judgment over management and it allocates areas of responsibility among committees of Independent Trustees and the full Board to enhance effective oversight.
Day-to-day risk management with respect to the Funds is the responsibility of BFA or other service providers (depending on the nature of the risk), subject to the supervision of BFA. Each Fund is subject to a number of risks, including investment, compliance, operational, reputational, counterparty and valuation risks, among others. While there are a number of risk management functions performed by BFA and other service providers, as applicable, it is not possible to identify and eliminate all of the risks applicable to the Funds. The Trustees have an oversight role in this area, satisfying themselves that risk management processes and controls are in place and operating effectively. Risk oversight forms part of the Board’s general oversight of each Fund and is addressed as part of various Board and committee activities. In some cases, risk management issues are specifically addressed in presentations and discussions. For example, BFA has an independent dedicated Risk and Quantitative Analysis Group (“RQA”) that assists BFA in managing fiduciary and corporate risks, including investment, operational, counterparty credit and enterprise risk. Representatives of RQA meet with the Board to discuss their analysis and methodologies, as well as specific risk topics such as operational and counterparty risks relating to the Funds. The Board, directly or through a committee, also reviews reports from, among others, management and the independent registered public accounting firm for the Trust, as appropriate, regarding risks faced by each Fund and management’s risk functions. The Board has appointed a Chief Compliance Officer who oversees the implementation and testing of the Trust's compliance program, including assessments by independent third parties, and reports to the Board regarding compliance matters for the Trust and its principal service providers. In testing and maintaining the compliance program, the Chief Compliance Officer (and his or her delegates) assesses key compliance risks affecting each Fund, and addresses them in periodic reports to the Board. In addition, the Audit Committee meets with both the Funds' independent registered public accounting firm and BFA’s internal audit group to review risk controls in place that support each Fund as well as test results. Board oversight of risk is also performed as needed between meetings through communications between BFA and the Board. The Independent Trustees have engaged independent legal counsel to assist them in performing their oversight responsibilities. From time to time, the Board may modify the manner in which it conducts risk oversight. The Board’s oversight role does not make it a guarantor of the Funds' investment performance or other activities.
Committees of the Board of Trustees.  The members of the Audit Committee are Richard L. Fagnani (Chair), John E. Kerrigan and Madhav V. Rajan, each of whom is an Independent Trustee. The purposes of the Audit Committee are to assist the Board (i) in its oversight of the Trust's accounting and financial reporting principles and policies and related controls and procedures maintained by or on behalf of the Trust; (ii) in its oversight of the Trust's financial statements and the independent audit thereof; (iii) in selecting, evaluating and, where deemed appropriate, replacing the independent accountants (or nominating the independent accountants to be proposed for shareholder approval in any proxy statement); (iv) in evaluating the independence of the independent accountants; (v) in complying with legal and regulatory requirements that relate to the Trust's accounting and financial reporting, internal controls, compliance controls and independent audits; and (vi) to assume such other responsibilities as may be delegated by the Board. The Audit Committee met seven times during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
The members of the Nominating and Governance Committee are John E. Kerrigan (Chair), Madhav V. Rajan and Drew E. Lawton, each of whom is an Independent Trustee. The Nominating and Governance Committee nominates individuals for Independent Trustee membership on the Board and recommends appointments to the Advisory Board. The Nominating and Governance Committee functions include, but are not limited to, the following: (i) reviewing the qualifications of any person properly identified or nominated to serve as an Independent Trustee; (ii) recommending to the Board and current Independent Trustees the nominee(s) for appointment as an Independent Trustee by the Board and current Independent Trustees and/or for election as Independent Trustees by shareholders to fill any vacancy for a position of Independent Trustee(s) on the Board; (iii) recommending to the Board and current Independent Trustees the size and composition of the Board and Board committees and whether they comply with applicable laws and regulations; (iv) recommending a current Independent Trustee to the Board and current Independent Trustees to serve as Board Chair; (v) periodic review of the
40

 


Board's retirement policy; and (vi) recommending an appropriate level of compensation for the Independent Trustees for their services as Trustees, members or chairpersons of committees of the Board, Board Chair and any other positions as the Nominating and Governance Committee considers appropriate. The Nominating and Governance Committee does not consider Board nominations recommended by shareholders (acting solely in their capacity as a shareholder and not in any other capacity). The Nominating and Governance Committee met one time during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
Each Independent Trustee serves on the 15(c) Committee. The Chair of the 15(c) Committee is Drew E. Lawton. The principal responsibilities of the 15(c) Committee are to support, oversee and organize on behalf of the Board the process for the annual review and renewal of the Trust's advisory and sub-advisory agreements. These responsibilities include: (i) meeting with BlackRock, Inc. in advance of the Board meeting at which the Trust's advisory and sub-advisory agreements are to be considered to discuss generally the process for providing requested information to the Board and the format in which information will be provided; and (ii) considering and discussing with BlackRock, Inc. such other matters and information as may be necessary and appropriate for the Board to evaluate the investment advisory and sub-advisory agreements of the Trust. The 15(c) Committee met one time during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
The members of the Securities Lending Committee are John E. Martinez (Chair), Jane D. Carlin and Drew E. Lawton, each of whom is an Independent Trustee. The principal responsibilities of the Securities Lending Committee are to support, oversee and organize on behalf of the Board the process for oversight of the Trust's securities lending activities. These responsibilities include: (i) requesting that certain information be provided to the Committee for its review and consideration prior to such information being provided to the Board; (ii) considering and discussing with BlackRock, Inc. such other matters and information as may be necessary and appropriate for the Board to oversee the Trust's securities lending activities and make required findings and approvals; and (iii) providing a recommendation to the Board regarding the annual approval of the Trust's Securities Lending Guidelines and the required findings with respect to, and annual approval of, the Trust's agreement with the securities lending agent. The Securities Lending Committee met three times during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
The members of the Equity Plus Committee are John E. Kerrigan (Chair), John E. Martinez and Drew E. Lawton, each of whom is an Independent Trustee. The principal responsibilities of the Equity Plus Committee are to support, oversee and organize on behalf of the Board the process for oversight of Trust performance and related matters for equity funds. These responsibilities include: (i) reviewing quarterly reports regarding Trust performance, secondary market trading and changes in net assets to identify any matters that should be brought to the attention of the Board; and (ii) considering any performance or investment related matters as may be delegated to the Committee by the Board from time to time and providing a report or recommendation to the Board as appropriate. The Equity Plus Committee met four times during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
The members of the Fixed Income Plus Committee are Madhav V. Rajan (Chair), Jane D. Carlin and Richard L. Fagnani, each of whom is an Independent Trustee. The principal responsibilities of the Fixed Income Plus Committee are to support, oversee and organize on behalf of the Board the process for oversight of Trust performance and related matters for fixed-income or multi-asset funds. These responsibilities include: (i) reviewing quarterly reports regarding Trust performance, secondary market trading and changes in net assets to identify any matters that should be brought to the attention of the Board; and (ii) considering any performance or investment related matters as may be delegated to the Committee by the Board from time to time and providing a report or recommendation to the Board as appropriate. The Fixed Income Plus Committee met four times during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
The members of the Risk Committee are Jane D. Carlin (Chair), Richard L. Fagnani and John E. Martinez, each of whom is an Independent Trustee. The principal responsibility of the Risk Committee is to consider and organize on behalf of the Board risk related matters of the Funds so the Board may most effectively structure itself to oversee them. The Risk Committee commenced on January 1, 2016. The Risk Committee met seven times during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
As the Chair of the Board, Cecilia H. Herbert may serve as an ex-officio member of each Committee.
The following table sets forth, as of December 31, 2018, the dollar range of equity securities beneficially owned by each Trustee in the Funds and in other registered investment companies overseen by the Trustee within the same family of investment companies as the Trust. If a fund is not listed below, the Trustee did not own any securities in that fund as of the date indicated above:
41

 


Name   Fund   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in Named Fund
  Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee
in Family of
Investment Companies
Robert S. Kapito   None   None   None
             
Mark K. Wiedman   iShares Core Aggressive Allocation ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares iBonds Sep 2019 Term Muni Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares iBonds Sep 2020 Term Muni Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares National Muni Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares New York Muni Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Short Maturity Municipal Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Short-Term National Muni Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
             
Cecilia H. Herbert   iShares California Muni Bond ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares China Large-Cap ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core High Dividend ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core S&P 500 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core S&P U.S. Growth ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core S&P U.S. Value ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares International Select Dividend ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares MSCI EAFE ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares MSCI Japan ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares National Muni Bond ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
             
Jane D. Carlin   iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF   $50,001-$100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Global Tech ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
42

 


Name   Fund   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in Named Fund
  Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee
in Family of
Investment Companies
    iShares MSCI ACWI ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares MSCI ACWI ex U.S. ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares MSCI EAFE Small-Cap ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Small-Cap ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Ultra Short-Term Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
             
Richard L. Fagnani   iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   $10,001-$50,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core S&P U.S. Growth ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol Global ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol USA ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol USA Small-Cap ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Edge MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares U.S. Consumer Services ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares U.S. Financials ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
             
John E. Kerrigan   iShares MSCI ACWI ex U.S. ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Short-Term National Muni Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
             
Drew E. Lawton   iShares 0-5 Year High Yield Corporate Bond ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Exponential Technologies ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Ultra Short-Term Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
             
John E. Martinez   iShares Core 5-10 Year USD Bond ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan ETF   Over $100,000    
43

 


Name   Fund   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in Named Fund
  Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee
in Family of
Investment Companies
    iShares MSCI EAFE ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 1000 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 2000 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF   $1-$10,000    
             
Madhav V. Rajan   iShares Broad USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core High Dividend ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core S&P 500 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Mortgage Real Estate ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 2000 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Select Dividend ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Ultra Short-Term Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
As of December 31, 2018, none of the Independent Trustees or their immediate family members owned beneficially or of record any securities of BFA (the Funds' investment adviser), the Distributor or any person controlling, controlled by or under common control with BFA or the Distributor.
Remuneration of Trustees and Advisory Board Members.  Effective January 1, 2019, each current Independent Trustee is paid an annual retainer of $375,000 for his or her services as a Board member to the BlackRock-advised Funds in the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex, together with out-of-pocket expenses in accordance with the Board’s policy on travel and other business expenses relating to attendance at meetings. The annual retainer for services as an Advisory Board Member is the same as the annual retainer for services as a Board member.  The Independent Chair of the Board is paid an additional annual retainer of $80,000. The Chair of each of the Equity Plus Committee, Fixed Income Plus Committee, Securities Lending Committee, Risk Committee, Nominating and Governance Committee and 15(c) Committee is paid an additional annual retainer of $25,000. The Chair of the Audit Committee is paid an additional annual retainer of $40,000. Each Independent Trustee that served as a director of subsidiaries of the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex is paid an additional annual retainer of $10,000 (plus an additional $1,765 paid annually to compensate for taxes due in the Republic of Mauritius in connection with such Trustee’s service on the boards of certain Mauritius-based subsidiaries).
The tables below set forth the compensation earned by each Independent Trustee and Interested Trustee for services to each Fund for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018 and the aggregate compensation paid to them for services to the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex for the calendar year ended December 31, 2018.
Name   iShares iBonds Dec 2019
Term Corporate ETF
  iShares iBonds Dec 2020
Term Corporate ETF
  iShares iBonds Dec 2021
Term Corporate ETF
Independent Trustees:            
             
Jane D. Carlin   $ 186   $221   $224
Richard L. Fagnani   184   218   222
Cecilia H. Herbert   211   249   254
44


Name   iShares iBonds Dec 2019
Term Corporate ETF
  iShares iBonds Dec 2020
Term Corporate ETF
  iShares iBonds Dec 2021
Term Corporate ETF
Charles A. Hurty1   194   230   234
John E. Kerrigan   184   218   222
Drew E. Lawton   184   218   222
John E. Martinez   184   218   222
Madhav V. Rajan   184   218   222
             
Interested Trustees:            
             
Robert S. Kapito   $ 0   $ 0   $0
Mark K. Wiedman   0   0   0
    
Name   iShares iBonds Dec 2022
Term Corporate ETF
  iShares iBonds Dec 2023
Term Corporate ETF
  iShares iBonds Dec 2024
Term Corporate ETF
Independent Trustees:            
             
Jane D. Carlin   $ 145   $ 129   $81
Richard L. Fagnani   143   128   80
Cecilia H. Herbert   164   146   92
Charles A. Hurty1   151   135   84
John E. Kerrigan   143   128   80
Drew E. Lawton   143   128   80
John E. Martinez   143   128   80
Madhav V. Rajan   143   128   80
             
Interested Trustees:            
             
Robert S. Kapito   $ 0   $ 0   $0
Mark K. Wiedman   0   0   0
    
Name   iShares iBonds Dec 2025
Term Corporate ETF
  iShares iBonds Dec 2026
Term Corporate ETF
  iShares iBonds Dec 2027
Term Corporate ETF
Independent Trustees:            
             
Jane D. Carlin   $ 90   $ 41   $37
Richard L. Fagnani   89   41   37
Cecilia H. Herbert   101   47   42
Charles A. Hurty1   93   43   39
John E. Kerrigan   89   41   37
Drew E. Lawton   89   41   37
John E. Martinez   89   41   37
Madhav V. Rajan   89   41   37
             
Interested Trustees:            
             
Robert S. Kapito   $ 0   $ 0   $0
Mark K. Wiedman   0   0   0
    
Name   iShares iBonds Dec 2028
Term Corporate ETF2
  iShares iBonds Mar 2020
Term Corporate ETF
  iShares iBonds Mar 2023
Term Corporate ETF
Independent Trustees:            
45